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George Morgan Welch 

universiiy LiDrary 


3 1924 030 993 574 


^ Uj3M4 




?8 JL ^ 

NOV 23 111? 





Cornell University 

The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 




IN 1838—1839. 



' This stone (Slavery), which waa rejected hy the first builders, ia become the 
chief stone of the comer in our new edifice.' — Speech of Albxandee H. Ste- 
phens, Vice-President of the Confederate States : delivered March 21, 1861. 




1863. -^ '''' 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in tlie year one tliousand 
eight hundred and sixty-three, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District 
of New Yorlc 

•• TO 





The following diary was kept in the winter and 
spring of 1838-9, on an estate consisting of rice and 
cotton plantations, in the islands at the entrance of the 
Altamaha, on the coast of Georgia. 

ThB slaves in whom I then had an unfortunate in- 
terest were sold some years ago. The islands them- 
selves are at present in the power of the Northern 
troops. The record contained in the following pages 
is a picture of conditions of human existence which I 
hope and .believe have passed away. 

London, Janvary 16, 1863. 


his master be severe, harsh, cruel — or even only careless 
— ^leaving his creatures to the delegated dominion of some 
overseer or agent, whose love of power, or other evil dis- 
positions, are checked by no considerations of personal 
interest? Imagination shrinks from the possible result 
of such a state of things ; nor must you, or Mr. — — , tell 
me thatjbe horrors thus suggested exist only in imagina- 
tion. \The Southern newspapers, with their advertise- 
ments,..or negro sales and personal_desjcriplifiaa_Gf fugitive 
slaves,^npply details of misery that it would be diflSoult 
for imagination to exceed. Scorn, derision, insult, menace 
— ^the handcuif, the lash — the tearing away of children 
from parents, of husfcands from wives — ^the weary trudg- 
ing in droves along the common highways, the labor of 
body, the despair of mind, the sickness ot heart — these 
are the realities which belong to the system, and form the 
rule, rather than the exception, in the slave's experience. 
And (ffiis_systeiB,_exists here in this country of yours, 
which boasts itself the asylum of the oppressed, the home 
of freedom, the one place in all the world where all men 
may find enfranchisement from all tBraldoms of mind, soul, 

^r body — ^the land elect of liberty. 

Mr. lays great stress, as a proof of the natural in- 
feriority of the blacks, on the little comparative progress 
they have made in those states where they enjoy their 
freedom, and the fact that, whatever quickness of parts 
they may exhibit while very young, on attaining maturity 
they invariably sink again into inferiority, or at least me- 

- diocrity, and indolence. But surely there are other causes 
to account for this besides natural deficiency, which must 
I think, be obvious to any unprejudiced person obsei-ving 
the condition of the free blacks in your Northern com- 
munities. If, in the early portion of their life, they escape 

the contempt and derision of their white associates if 

the blessed unconsciousness and ignorance of childhood 


keeps them for a few years unaware of the conventional 
proscription under which their whole race is placed (and 
it is difficult to walk your streets, and mark the tone of 
insolent superiority assumed by even the gutter-urchins 
over their dusky contemporaries, and imagine this possi-/ 
ble) — as. soon as they acq[uirejthe first rudiments_ofknowlt 
edge, as~s6on as they begin to grow up and pass from in- 
fancyto youth, as soon as they cast the first observing 
glance upon the world by which they are suiToundedi, and 
the society of whichthey are members, they must become 
conscious that they are marked as the Hebrew lepers of 
old, and are condemned to sit, like those unfortunates, 
without the gates of every human and social sympathy. 
From their own sable color]^a^^pallfalls_oxer_the^whole of 
God's universe to them, and they find themselves stamped 
with a badge of infamy of Nature's own devising, at sight 
of which all natural kindliness of man to man seems to 
recoil from thein. They^are jiot slaves in deed, but -they 
are_pariahs; debarred fi-om all fellowship save with their 
own ^S^pised race — scorned by the lowest white ruffian 
in your streets, not tolerated as companions even by the 
foreign menials in your kitchen. They are free certainly, 
but! they are also degraded, rejected, the oflFscum and the 
offiseouring of the very dregs of your society ; they are 
free from the chain, the whip, the enforced task and un- 
paid toil of slavery ; but they are not the less under a ban. 
Thpir kinslii p with sla.vps fnreyer bars them from a full 
share of the freeman's inheritance of equal rights, and 
equal consideration and respect. All hands are extended 
to thrust them out, all fingers point at their dusky skin, 
all tongues — ^the most vulgar, as well as the self-styled 
most refined — have learned to turn the very name of their 
race into an insult and a reproach. How, in the name of 
all that is natural, probable, possible, should the spirit and 
energy of any human creature support itself under such 


his master be severe, harsh, cruel — or even only careless 
— ^leaving his creatures to the delegated dominion of some 
overseer or agent, whose love of power, or other evil dis- 
positions, are checked by no considerations of personal 
interest? Imagination shrinks from the possible result 

of such a state of things ; nor must you, or Mr. , tell 

me thaVtbe horrors thus suggested exist only in imagina- 
tion. '\The Southern newspapers, with their advertise- 
ments ja£ negro sales and personaljlescriptufflaijf fugitive 
slavesjsnpply details of misery that it would be difficult 
for imagination to exceed. Scorn, derision, insult, menace 
— ^the handcuff, the lash — the tearing away of children 
from parents, of husfeands from wives — ^the weary trudg- 
ing in droves along the common highways, the labor of 
body, the despair of mind, the sickness ot heart — these 
are the realities which belong to the system, and form the 
rule, rather than the exception, in the slave's experience. 
And (this s ysteffl^_exists here in this country of yours, 
which boasts itself the asylum of the oppressed, the home 
of freedom, the one place in all the world where all men 
may find enfranchisement from all tBraldoms of mind, soul, 

•^r body — ^the land elect of liberty. 

Mr. lays great stress, as a proof of the natural in- 
feriority of the blacks, on the little comparative progress 
they have made in those states where they enjoy their 
freedom, and the fact that, whatever quickness of parts 
they may exhibit while very young, on attaining maturity 
they invariably sink again into inferiority, or at least me- 

> diocrity, and indolence. But surely there are other causes 
to account for this besides natural deficiency, which must, 
I think, be obvious to any unprejudiced person obsemng 
the condition of the free blacks in your Northern com- 
munities. If, in the early portion of their life, they escape 

the contempt and derision of their white associates if 

the blessed unconsciousness and ignorance of childhood 


keeps them for a few years unaware of the conventional ' 
proscription under which their whole race is placed (and/ 
it is difficult to walk your streets, and mark the tone of | 
insolent superiority assumed by even the guttei'-urchins 
over their dusky contemporaries, and imagine this possi-J 
ble) — as. soon as they acquire the first rudiments of knowl-t 
edge, assoon as tFey begin to grow up and pass from inH 
fancy to youth, as soon as they cast the first observing 
glance upon the world by which they are suiTounded, and 
the society of which they are members, they must become 
conscious that they are marked as the Hebrew lepers of 
old, and are condemned to sit, like those unfortunates, 
without the gates of every human and social sympathy. 
From their own sable color^^ajpalHalls o^er the whole of 
God's universe to them, and they find themselves stamped 
with a badge of infamy of Nature's own devising, at sight 
of which all natural kindliness of man to man seems to 
recoil from thein. They^re jiot slaves ia dead. biit-tbev 
arejjariahs; debarred fi-om all fellowship save with their 
own "despised race — scorned by the lowest white ruffian 
in your streets, not tdlerated as companions even by the 
foreign menials in your kitchen. They are free certainly, 
but they are also degraded, rejected, the ofiscum and the 
offscouring of the very dregs of your society ; they are 
free from the chain, the whip, the enforced task and un- 
paid toil of slavery ; but they are not the less under a ban. 
Xheir-tiTDfiT^'r •°^'^^ « lavp.s fnrejer bars them from a full 
share of the freeman's inheritance of equal rights, and 
equal consideration and respect. All hands are extended 
to thrust them out, all fingers point at their dusky skin, 
all tongues — ^the most vulgar, as well as the self-styled 
most refined — have learned to turn the very name of their 
race into an insult and a reproach. How, in the name of 
all that is natural, probable, possible, should the spirit and 
energy of any human creature support itself under such 


an accumulation of injustice and olbloquy? Where shall 
any mass of men be found with power of character and 
mind su^ient to bear up against such a weight of preju- 
dice ? W^hy, if one individual rarely gifted by heaven 
were to raise himself out of such a slough of despond; he 
would be a miracle; and what would be his reward? 
Would he be admitted to 'an equal share in your political 
rights ? would he ever be allowed to cross the threshold 
of your doors ? wouldjayL of you g ige^^mLdaaghter to 
his^on, or jovlt acgLto his daugh tgg? would you, in any 
' one particular, admit him to the footing of equality which 
any taan with a white skin would claim, whose ability and 
worth had so raised him from the lower degrees of the 
social scale ? You would tur n from such p ro positions with 
abhorrencCj andjEe^servafflts^in^our kitchenanistahle — 
the ignorant and boorish refuse of foreign p opula tio ns, in 
~ wh6se"countriesn~o sucK prejudicFexists, imbib ing it with 
the very airtheyHbreathe her&^^^ould shri nk from e ating 
3tjthe~same taHejwtth^ucEra_man,. or holding out the 
hand _ofcommon-feUow-shipL_to him. Under the species 
of social proscription in which the blacks in your Northern 
cities exist, if they preserved energy of mind, enterprise 
of spirit, or any of the best attributes and powers of free 
men, they would prove themselves, instead of the lowest 
and least of humanjaces, the high est an djjit, not only 
of alTthatdo exist, but ofalHhal ever have existed ; for 
they alone would seek and cultivate knowledge, goodnesSj 
truth, science, art, refinement, and all improvement, purely 
for the sake of their own excellence, and without one of 
those incentives of honoi-, power, and fortune, which are 
found to be the chief, too often the only, inducements 
which lead white men to the pursuit of the same objects. 

You know very well, dear E , that in speaking a 

the free blacks of the North I here state nothing but what 
is true, and of daily experience. Only last week I heard 


in this very Jown of Philadelphia of a family of strict 
probity and honoi-, highly principled, intelligent, well-edu- 
cated, and accomplished, and (to speak in the world's lan- 
guage) respectable in every way — i.e.,nch. Upon an 
Eiiglish.]|idy^sstating it to be her intention to visit these 
persons when sheVame to Philadelphia, she was told that 
if she_didnobod2;_else would visftAery and she probably 
would excite a malevolent feeling, which might find vent 
in some violent demonstration against this family. All 
that I have now said of course bears only upon the con- 
dition of the free colored population of the North, with 
which I am familiar enough to speak confidently of it. As 
for the slaves, and their capacity for progress, I can say 
nothing, for I have never been among them to judge what 
faculties their unhappy social position leaves to them un- 
impaired. But it seems to me that no experiment on a 
sufficiently large scale can have been tried for a sufiicient 
length of time to determine the question of their incurable 
inferiority. \Physiologists say that three successive gen- 
erations appear to be necessary to produce an effectual 
change of constitution (bodily and mental), be it for health 
or disease. There are positive physical defects which 
produce positive mental ones ; the diseases of the muscu- 
lar and nervous systems descend from father to son. Upon 
the agency of one corporal power how much that is not 
corporal depends ; from generation to generation internal 
disease and external deformity, vices, virtues, talents, and 
deficiencies are transmitted, and by the action of the same 
law it must be long indeed before the offspring of slaves 
— .creatures begotten of a race debased and degraded to 
the lowest degree, themselves born in slavery, and whose 
progenitors have eaten the bread and drawn the breath 
of slavery for years — can be measured, with any show of 
justice, by even the least favored descendants of Europe- 
an nations, whose qualities have been for centuries devel- 

14 JOtTENAL 01" 

oping themselves under the beneficent influences of free- 
dom, and the progress it inspires. 
I am rather surprised at the outbreak of violent disgust 

which Mr. indulges in on the subject of amalgamar 

tion, as that formed no part of our discussion, and seems 
to me a curious subject for abstract argument. I should 
think the intermarrying between blacks and whites a mat- 
ter to be as little insisted upon if repugnant, as prevented 
if agreeable to the majority of the two races. At the 
same time,,I can not help being astonished at the furious 
and ungoverned execration which all reference to the pos- 
sibility of a fusion of the races draws down upon those 
who suggest it, because nobody pretendiS to deny t hat, 
throughout the South, a large proportion of the_population 
is the offspring of white men and colored women. Jn^ 
JJaffi-Orleans, a class of jmhappy femaJes exists whose 
mingled blood does not prevent their being remarkable 
for their, beauty, and with whom no man, no gentleman^ 
in that city shrinks from associating ; and while the slave- 
owners of the Southern States insist vehemently upon the 
mental and physical inferiority of the blacks, they are be- 
nevolently doing their best, in one way at least, to raise 
and improve the degraded race, and the bastard popula- 
tion which forms so ominous an element in the social safe- 
ty of their cities certainly exhibit in their forms and feat- 
ures the benefit they derive from their white progenitors. 
It is hard to conceive that some mental improvement does 
not accompany this physical change. Already the finer 
forms of the European races are cast in these dusky 
moulds : the outward configuration can hardly thus im- 
prove without corresponding progress in the inward ca- 
pacities. The white man's blood and bones have begot- 
ten this bronze race, and bequeathed to it, in some degree 
qualities, tendencies, capabilities, such as are the inherit- 
ance of the highest order of human animals. Mr.* 


(and many others) speaks as if there were a natural re- 
pugnance in all whites to any alliance with the black race ; 
and yet it is notorious, that almost ey.erv Southern plan ter 
chil^tfin. Most certainly, few people would like to assert"] 
that such connections are formed because it is the interest 
of these planters to increase the number of their human 
property, and that they add to their revenue by the clos- 
est intimacy with creatures that they loathe, in order to 
reckon among their wealth the children of their body^ 
Surely that is a monstrous and unnatural supposition, and 
utterly unworthy of belief. "Ihat-sweb-coaHeetioBS-exist 
commonlyia-a-s.uffi6ie»t-pr0©#th-a%-'th^ ar& .not-ahhorrent 
to nature; but jtjeeins, indeed,. as ifjaarriage^and not 
concubiaage) was thg.Jhorrible enormity which.. can -not-be 
tdgjated, and against which, moreovei',it has been deemed 
expedient to enact laws. [Sow it appears very evident 
that there is no law in the white man's nature which pre- 
vents him from making a colored woman the mother of 
his children, but there is a law on his statute-books forbid- 
ding him to make her his wife ; and if we are to admit 
the theory that the mixing of the races is a monstrosity, 
it seems almost as curious that laws should be enacted to- 
prevent men marrying women toward whom they have an 
invincible natural repugnance, as that education shoul d by 
law be prohibited to creatures incapable of receiving itj 
As for the exhortation with which Mr. closes his let- 
ter, that I will not " go down to my husband's plantation 
prejudiced against what I am to find there," I know not 
well how to answer it. flAssuredly I am going prejudiced 
against slavery, for I am an Englishwoman, in whom the 
absence of such a prejudice would be disgraceful. Nev- , 
ertheless, I go prepared to ^nd many mitigations in the7 
practice to the general injustice and cruelty of the system 
— much kindness on the part of the masters, much content 


on that of the slaves ; and I feel very sure that you may 
rely upon the carefulness of my observation, and the accu- 
racy of my report, of every detail of the working of the 
thing that comes under my notice ; and certainly, on the 
plantation to which I am going, it will be more likely that 
I should some things extenuate, than set down aught in 
malice. Yours ever faithfully. 

Darien, Georgia. 

Dbae E , — Minuteness of detail, and fidelity in the 

account of my daily doings, will hardly, I fear, render my 
letters very interesting to you now ; but, cut off as I am 
here from all the usual resources and amusements of civ- 
ilized existence, I shall find but little to communicate to 
you that i,s not furnished by my observations on the novel 
appearance of external nature, and the moral and physical 

condition of Mr. 's people. The latter subject is, I 

know, one sufBciently interesting in itself to you, and I 
shall not scruple to impart all the reflections which may 
occur to me relative to their state during my-stay here, 
where inquiry into their mode of existence will form my 
chief occupation, and, necessarily also, the staple commod- 
ity of my letters. I purpose, while I reside here, keeping 
a sort of journal, such as Monk Lewis wrote during his 
visit to his West India plantations. I wish I had any 
prospect of rendering my diary as interesting and amus- 
ing to you as his was to me. 

In taking my first walk on the island, I directed my 
steps toward the rice m ill, a large building on the banks 
of the river, within a few yards of the house we occupy. 
Is it not rather curious that Miss Martineau should have 
mentioned the erection of a steam mill for threshing rice 
somewhere in the vicinity of Charleston as a singular nov- 
elty, likely to form an era in Southern agriculture, and to 


produce the most desirable changes in the system of lahor 
by which it is carried on ? .Now_on this estate alone there 
_areJ]irfifLihreshing mills— one worEed^ by Welmj~6ne by 
the tide, and one by horses ; there are two private steam 
mills on plantations adjacent to om-s, and a public one at 
Savannah, where the planters who have none on. their own 
estates are in the habit of sending their rice to be thresh- 
ed at a certain percentage ; these have all been in opera- 
tion for some yearsjand I therefore am at a loss to utt 
derstand what made her hail the erection of the one at 
Charleston as likely to produce such immediate and hap- 
py results. By-the-by — of the misstatements, or rathei 
mistakes, for they are such, in her books, with regard tc 
certain facts — her only disadvantage in acquiring infor- 
mation was not by any means that natural infirmity on 
which the periodical press, both here and in England, 
has commented with so much brutality. She had the 
misfortune to possess, too, that unsuspecting reliance upon 
the truth of others which they are apt to feel who them- 
selves hold truth most sacred ; and this was a sore disad- 
vantage to her in a country where I have heard it myself 
repeatedly asserted — and, what is more, much gloried in 
— that she was purposely misled by the persons to whom 
she addressed her inquiries, who did not scruple to dis- 
grace themselves by imposing in the grossest manner upon 
her credulity and anxiety to obtain information. It is a 
knowledge of this very shameful proceeding which has 
made me most especially anxious to avoid fact hunting. 
I might fill my letters to you with accounts received from 
others, but, as I am aware of the risk which I run in so do- 
ing, I shall furnish you with no details but tljpse which 
come under my own immediate observation .(^ To return 
to the rice jn ill : it is worked by a steam-engine of thirty 
horse power, and, besides threshing great part of our own 
rice, is kept constantly employed by the neighboring plant- 


crs, who send their grain to it in preference to the more 
distant mill at Savannah, paying, of course, the same per- 
centage, which makes it a very profitable addition to the 
estate. Immediately opposite to this building is a small 
shed, which, they call the cook's shop, and where the daily 
allowance of rice and corn grits of the people is boiled and 
distributed to them by an old woman, whose special busi- 
ness this is. (There are fo ur set tlements or villages (or, as 
the negroes call them, camps) on the island, consisting of 
from ten to twenty houses, and to each settlement is an- 
nexed a cook's shop with capacious caldrons, andjthe.Qld- 
est-Wife Qf.tke,.seltlement,fbt-officiating.prifi&tessJ Pursu- 
ing my walk along the river's bank, upon an artificial dike, 
sufiiciently high and broad to protect the fields from in- 
undation by the ordinary rising of the tide — ^for the whole 
island is below high-watei" mark — ^I passed the ^lackstaith's 
and coopei:!&_shops. £At the first all the common iron im- 
plements of husbandry or household use for the estate are 
made, and at the latter all the rice barrels necessary for the 
crop, besides tubs and buckets, large and small, for the use 
of the people, and cedar tubs, of noble dimensions and ex- 
ceedingly neat workmanship, for our own household pur- 
posesj The fragrance of these when they are first made, as 
well as their ample size, renders them preferable as dress- 
ing-room furniture, in my opinion, to all the china foot- 
tubs that ever came out of Stafibrdshire. After this I got 
out of the vicinity of the settlement, and pursued my way 
along a narrow dike — the river on the one hand, and, on 
the other, a slimy, poisonous-looking swamp, all rattling 
with sedges of enormous height, in which one might lose 
one's way as effectually as in a forest of oaks. Beyond 
this, the low rice-fields, all clothed in their rugged stubble 
divided by dikes into monotonous squares, a species of pros- 
pect by no means beautiful to the mere lover of the pic- 
turesque. The only thing that I met with to attract my 


attention -was a most beautiful species of ivy, the leaf 
longer and more graceful than that of the common En- 
glish creeper, glittering with the highest varnish, delicate- 
ly veined, and of a rich brown-green, growing in profuse 
garlands from branch to branch of some stunted evergreen 
bushes which border the dike, and which the people caU 
salt-water bush. My walks are rather circumscribed, in- 
asmuch as the dikes are the only promenades. On all 
sides of these lie either the marshy rice-fields, the brim- 
ming river, or the swampy patches of yet unreclaimed 
forest, where the hugh cypress-trees and exquisite ever- 
green undergrowth spring up from a stagnant sweltering 
pool, that efiectually forbids the foot of the explorer. 

As I skirted one of these thickets to-day, I stood still to 
admire the beauty of the shrubbery. Every shade of 
green, every variety of form, every degree of varnish, and 
all in full leaf and beauty in the very depth of winter. 
The stunted dark-colored oak ; the magnolia bay (like our 
own culinary and fragrant bay), which grows to a very 
great size ; the wild myrtle, a beautiful and profuse shrub, 
rising to a height of six, eight, and ten feet, and branch- 
ing on all sides in luxuriant tufted fullness ; most beauti- 
ful of all; that pride of the South, the magnolia grandiflo- 
ra, whose lustrous dark green perfect foliage would alone 
render it an object of admiration, without the queenly 
blossom whose color, size, and perfume are unrivaled in 
the whole vegetable, kingdom. This last magnificent crea- 
ture gi'ows to the size of a forest tree in these swamps, 
but seldom adorns a high or dry soil, or suffers itself to 
be successfully transplanted. Under all these the spiked 
palmetto forms an impenetrable covert, and*from glitter- 
ing graceful branch to branch hang garlands of ever'green 
creepei'S, on which the mocking-birds are swinging and. 
singing even now ; while I, bethinking me of the pinching 
cold that is at this hour- tyrannizing over your region, lo'ok 


round on this strange scene— on these green woods, this, 
unfettered river, and sunny sky— and feel very much like 
one in another planet from yourself. 

The profusion of birds here is one thmg that strikes me 
as curious, coming from the vicinity pf Philadelphia, where 
even the robin redbreast, held sacred by the humanity of 
all other Christian people, is not safe from the gunning 
prowess of the unlicensed sportsmen of your free country. 
[The negroes (of course) are not allowed the use of fire- 
arms, and their very simply constructed traps do not do 
much havoc among the feathered hordes that haunt their 
rice-fields. Their case is rather a hard one, as partridges, 
snipes, and the most delicious wild ducks abound here, 
and their allowance of rice and Indian meal would not be 
the worse for such, additions. No day passes that I do 
not, in the course of my walk, put up a number of the 
land birds, and startle from among the gigantic sedges 
the long-necked water-fowl by dozens. It arouses the kill- 
ing propensity in me most dreadfully,, and I really enter- 
tain serious thoughts of learning to use a gun, for the mere 
pleasure of destroying these pretty birds as they whirr 
from their secret coverts close beside my path. How 
strong an instinct of animal humanity this is, and how 
strange if one be more strange than another. Reflection 
rebukes it almost instantaneously, and yet for the life of 
me I can not help wishing I had a fowling-piece whenevv 
er I put up a covey of these creatures ; though I suppose, 
if one were brought bleeding and maimed to me, I should 
begin to cry, and be very pathetic, after the fashion of 
Jacques. However, one must live, you know ; and here 
our Uving coBsists very mainly of wild ducks, wild geese, 
wild turkeys, and venison. Now, perhaps, can one imag- 
ine the universal doom overtaking a creature with less 
misery than in the case of the bird who, in the very mo- 
mAit of his triumphant soaring, is brought dead to the 


ground. I should like to bargain for such a finis myself 
amazingly,! know, and have always thought that the death 
I should prefer would be to break my neck off the back 
of my horse at a full gallop on a fine day. • Of course a 
bad shot should be hung — a man who shatters his birds' 
wings and legs ; if I undertook the trade, I would learn of 
some Southern duelist, and always shoot my bird thi-ough 
the head or heart— as an expert murderer knows how. 
Besides these birds of which we make our prey, there are 
others that prey upon their own fraternity. Hawks of 
every sort and size wheel their steady rounds above the 
rice-fields ; and the great turkey-buzzards — those most un- 
sightly carrion birds — spread their broad black wings, and 
soar over the river like so many mock eagles. I do not 
know that I ever saw any winged creature of so forbid- 
ding an aspect as these same turkey-buzzards ; their heavy 
flight, their awkward gait, their bald -looking head and 
neck, and their devotion to every species of foul and de- 
testable food, render them almost abhorrent to me. They 
abound in the South, and in Charleston are held in espe- 
cial veneration for their scavenger-like propensities, kill- 
ing one of them being, I believe, a finable offense by the 
city police regulations. Among the Brobdignagian s edges 
that in some parts of the island fringe the Altamaha, the • 
nightshade (apparently the same as the European creep- 
er) weaves a perfect matting of its poisonous garlands, 
and my remembrance of its prevalence in the woods and 
hedges of England did not reconcile me to its appearance 
here. How much of this is mere association I can not 
tell ; but, whether the wild duck makes its nest under its 
■green arches, or the alligators and snakes of the Altamaha 
have their secret bowers there, it is an evil-looking weed, 
and I shall have every leaf of it cleared away. 
^1 must inform you of a curious conversation which took 
place between my little girl and the woman who performs 


for us the offices of chambermaid here— of coui-se one of 

Mr. 'b slaves. What suggested it to the child, or 

whence indeed she gathered her information, I know not ; 
but children are made of eyes and ears, and nothing, how- 
ever minute, escapes their microscopic observation. She 
suddenly began addressing this woman. "Mary, some 
persons are free and some are not (the woman made no 
reply). I am_a_free_persQiL(sf_aJittle_jnQmjthas^three 
years old)T^ I say, I am a free person, Mary — do you know 
"tEat?^^" Yes, missis." " Some persons are free and some 
are not— do you know that, Mary ?" " Yes, missis, Aere," 
was the reply; "I know it is so here, in this world." Here 
my child's white nurse, my dear Margery, who had hither- 
to been silent, interfered, saying, " Oh, then you think it 
will not always be so ?" " Me hope not, missis." I am 

afraid, E , this woman actually imagines that there 

will be no slaves in heaven; isn't that preposterous, now, 
when, by the account of most of the^outherners, slavery 
itself must be heaven, or something uncommonly like ifr? 
Oh, if you could imagine how this title " Missis," addressed 
to me and to my children, shocks all my feelings ! Several 
times I have exclaimed, " For God's sake do not call me 
that !" and only been awakened, by the stupid amazement 
of the poor creatures I was addressing, to the pei-fect use- 
lessness of my thus e2q)0stu]flting with them; once or 
^twice, indeed, I have done more — I have explained to 
them, and they appeared to comprehend me well, that I 
had no ownership over them, for that I held such owner- 
ship sinful, and that, though I was the wife of the man 
who pretends to own them, I was, in truth, no more their 
mistress than they were mine. Some of them I know un- 
^iaerstood me, more of them did not. 
j>j.Our servants — those who have been selected to wait 
upon us in the house — consist of a man, who is quite a tol- 
erable cook (I believe this is a natural gift with them as 


with Frenchmen); a dairy-woman, who churns for us; a 
laundry-woman ; her daughter, our housemaid, the afore- 
said Mary ; and two young lads of from fifteen to twenty, 
who wait upon us in the capacity of footmen. As, how- 
ever, the latter are perfectly filthy in theif persons and 
clothes — their faces, hands, and naked feet being literally 
in crusted with dirt — their attendance at our meals is not,- 
as you may suppose, particularly agreeahle to me, and I 
dispense with it as often as possible,, Mary, too, is so in- 
tolerably ofiensive in her person that it is impossible to 
endure her proximity, and the consequence is that, among 

Mr. 's slaves, I wait, upon myself more than I have 

ever done in my life before. About this same personal 
ofiensiyeness, the Southerners, you know, insist that it is 
inherent with the race, and it is one of their most cogent 
reasons for keeping them as slaves. But, as this very dis^ 
agreeable peculiarity does_not_preyeiitSouthern women 
from hanging their infants ^JhAirfiasts^f jiegresses, nor 
■ almost eveij planter's wife and .daughter from having one 
or 6iore little pet blacks sleeping like puppvrdogs ip their 
very bedchamber, nor almost every plant^irom admitting 
one or several of his female slaves to the still closer inti- 
macy of his bed, it seems to me that this objection to do- 
ing them right is not very valid. I can not imagine that 
they would smell much worse if they were free, or come- 
in much. closer contact with the delicate organs of their 
white fellow-countrymen ; indeed, inasmuch as good deeds 
are. spoken of as having a sweet savor before God, it might 
be supposed that the freeing of the blacks might prove 
rather an odoriferous process than the contrary. How- 
ever this may be, I must tell you thatithis potent reason 
for enslaving a whole race of people is no more potent 
with me than most of the others adduced to support the 
system, inasmuch as, from observation and some experi- 
ence, T am Rtr^ingly inclined to beljevj that peculiar igno- 1 


ranee of the laws of health and the habits of decent clean- 
liness are the real and only causes of this disagreeaihle 
characteristic of the race, thorough ablutions and change 
of linen, when tried, having been perfectly successful in 
removing all %uch objections ; and if ever you have come 
into any thing like neighborly proximity with a low Irish- 
man or woman, I think you will allow that the same causes 
produce very nearly the same effects. The stench in an 
Irish, Scotch, Italian, or French hovel are quite as intoler- 
able as any I ever found in our negro houses, and the filth 
and vermin which abound about the clothes and persons 
of the lower peasantry of any of those countries as abom- 
inable as the same conditions in the black population of' 
the United States^. A tnf^ahfjpnr.p. of aplf-rpsppft, begets 
these hateful physical results, and in proportion as moral 
influences are remote, physical evUs wiU abound. Well- 
being, freedom, and industry induce self-respect, self-re- 
spect induces cleanliness and personal attention,- so that 
slavery is answerable for all the evils that exhibit them- 
j selves where it exists — ^from lying, thieving, and adultery, 
to dirty houses, ragged clothes, and foul smells. 

But to return to our Ganymedes. One of them — ^the 
eldest son of our laundry-woman, and Mary's brother, a 
boy of the name of Aleck (Alexander) — is uncommonly J 
bright and intelligent ; he performs all the offices of a" 
well-instructed waiter with great efficiency, and any where 
out of slave land would be able to earn fourteen or fifteen 
dollars a month for himself; he is remarkably good tem- 
pered and well disposed. The other poor boy is so stupid 
that he appears sullen from absolute darkness of intellect ; 
instead of being a little lower than the angels, he is scarce- 
ly a little higher than the brutes, and to this condition are 
reduced the majority of his kind by the institutions under 
which they live. I should tell you that Aleck's parents 
and kindred have always been about the house of the 


overseer, and in daily habits of intercourse witli him and 
his wife ; and wherever this is the case the effect of invol- 
untary education is evident in the improved intelligence 

of the degraded race. In a conversation which Mr. 

had this evening with Mr. O , the overseer, the latter 

mentioned that two of our carpenters had in their leisure 
time made a hoat, which they had disposed of to some 
neighboring- planter for sixty dollars. 
^^-pXow, E , I have no intention of telling you a one- 
sided story, or concealing from you what are cited as the 
advantages which these poor people possess ; you, who 
know. that no indulgence is worth simple justice, either to 
him who gives or .him who receives, will not thence con- 
clude that their situation thus mitigated is, therefore, what 
it should be. On this matter' of the sixty dollars earned 
by Mr. — '■ — 's two men much stress was laid by him and 
his overseer. I look at it thus : If these men were indus- 
trious enough, out of their scanty leisure, to earn sixty dol- 
lars, how much more of remuneration, of comfort, of im- 
provement might they not have achieved were the price 
of their daily labor duly paid them, instead of being un- 
justly, withheld to support an idle young man and his 
idle family — ^". e., myself and my children. 

And here it may be well to inform you that the slaves 
pn this plantation are divided into field-hands and mechan- 
ics or artisans. The former, the great majority, are the 
more stupid and brutish of the tribe ; the others, who are 
regularly taught their trades, are not only ex-ceedingly ex- 
pert at them, but exhibit a greater general activity of in- 
tellect, which must necessarily result from even a partial 
degree of cultivation. There are here a gang (for that is 
the honorable term) of coopers, of blacksmiths, of brick- 
layers, of carpenters, all well acquainted with their pecul- 
iar trades. The latter constructed the wash-hand stands, 
clothes-presses, sofas, tables, etc., with which our house is 


furnished, and they are very neat pieces of workmanship 
— ^neither veneered or polished indeed, nor of very costly 
materials, but of the white pine wood planed as smooth 
as marble — a species of furnitura not very luxurious per- 
haps, but all the better adapted therefore to the house it^ 
self, which is certainly rather more devoid of the conveiir 
iences and adornments of modern existence than any thing 
I ever took up my abode in before. It consists of three 
small rooms,, and three still smaller, which would be more 
appropriately designated as closets, a wooden recess by 
way of pantry, and a kitchen detached from the dweUing 
— a mere wooden out-house, with no floor but the bare 
earth, and for furniture a congregation of filthy negroes, 
who lounge in and out of it like hungry hounds at all hours 
of the day and night, picking up such scraps of food as 
they can find about, which they, discuss squatting down 
upon their hams, in which interesting position and oocu- 
j)ation I generally find a number of them whenever I have 
sufficient hardihood to venture within those precincts, 'fte 
sight of which and its tenants is enough to slacken the 
appetite of the hungriest hunter that ever lost all nice re- 
gards in the mere animal desire for food. Of our three 
apartments, one is our sitting, eating, and: living room, 
and is sixteen feet by fifteen. Tho walls are plastered in- 
deed, but neither painted nor papered ; it is divided from 
our bedroom (a similarly elegant and comfortable cham- 
ber) by a dingy wooden partition covered all over with 
hooks, pegs, and nails, to which hats, caps, keys, eto.,,etOij 
are suspended in graceful irregularity. The doors open 
by wooden latches, raised by means of small bits of pack- 
thread— I imagine, the same primitive order of fastening 
celebrated in the touching chronicle of Red Riding Hooija 
how they shut I will not attempt to describe, as the shutil 
ting of a door is a process of extremely rare occurrenc J 
throughout the whole Southern countiy. The third room 


a chamber with sloping ceiling, immfediately over our sit- 
ting-room and under the roof, is appropriated to the nurse 

and my two babies. Of the closets, one is Mr. , the 

overseer's, bedroom, the other his office or place of busi- 
ness ; and the third, adjoining our bedroom, and opening 

immediately out of doors, is Mr. ' 's dressing-room and 

cabinet d'affaires, where he gives audiences to the negroes, 
redresses grievances, distributes red woolen caps (a sin- 
gular gratification to a slave), shaves himself, and per- 
forms the other offices of his toilet. Such being our abode, 
I think you will allow there is little danger of my being 
dazzled by the luxurious splendors of a Southern slave 
residence. Our sole mode of summoning- our attendants 
is by a pack-thread beU-rope suspended in the sitting- 
room. From the bedrooms we have to raise the windows 
and our voices, and bring them 'by power of lungs, or help 
ourselves — which, I thank God, was never yet a hardship 
to me. 

I mentioned to you just now that two of the carpenters 
had made a boat. in their leisure time, I must explain 
this to you, and this will itivolve the mention of another 
of Miss Martineau's mistakes with regard to slave labor, 
at least in many parts of the Southern States. She men- 
tions that on one estate of which she knew, the proprietor 
had made the experiment, and very successfully, of ap- 
pointing to each of his slaves a certain task to be per- 
formed in the day, which, once accomplished, no matter 
how early, the rest' of the four-and-twenty hours were al- 
lowed to the laborer to employ as he pleased. She men- 
tions this as a single experiment, and rejoices over it as 
a decided amelioration in the condition of the slave, and 
one deserving of general adoption. But in the part of 
Georgia where ihis estate is situated, the custom of task 
labor is universal, and it prevails, I believe, throughout 
Georgia, South Carolina, and parts of North Carolina; in 


Other parts of the latter state, however — as I was inform- 
ed by our overseer, who is a native of that state — the es- 
tates are small, rather deserving the name of farms, and 
the laborers are much upon the same footing as the labor- 
ing men at the North, working from sunrise to sunset in 
the fields with the farmer and his sons, and coming in with 
them to their meals, which they take immediately after 
the rest of the family. In Louisiana and the new south- 
western slave states,! believe, task labor. does not prevail; 
but it is in those that the condition of the poor human 
cattle is most deplorable, as you was there that 
the humane calculation was not only made, but openly and 
unhesitatingly avowed, that, the planters found it, upon 
the whole, their most profitable plan to work off .(kill with 
labor) their whole number of slaves about once in seven 
years, and renew the whole stock. By-thcby, the Jew- 
ish institution of slavery is much insisted upon by the 
Southern upholders of the system ; perhaps this is. their 
notion of the Jewish jubilee, when the slaves were by Mo- 
ses's strict enactment to be all set free. Well, this task 
system is pursued on this estate ; and thus it is that the 
two carpenters were enabled to make the boat they sold 
for sixty dollars. These tasks, of course, profess to be 
graduated according to the sexj age, and strength of the 
laborer ; but in many, instances this is not the case, as I 

think you will agree when I tell you that on Mr. -a 

first visit to his estates he found that the men and the 
women who labored in the fields had the same task to 
perform. This was a noble admission of feinale equality^ 
was it not ? — arid thus it had been on the estate for many 

years past. Mr. , of course, altered the distribution 

of the work, diminishing the quantity done by the women. 

I had a most ludicrous visit this morning from the 

midwife of the estate-^-rather an important personage 

both to master and slave, as to her unassisted skill and 


science the ushering of all the young negroes into their 
existence of bondage is intrusted. I heard a great deal 
of conversation in the dressing-room adjoining mine while 

perfprming my own toilet, and presently Mr. opened 

my room door, ushering in a dirty, fat, good-humored 
looking old negress, saying, « The midwife. Rose, wants to 
make your acquaintance." " Oh massa !" shrieked out the 
old creature, in a paroxysm of admiration, " where you get 
this lilly alabaster baby !" For a moment I looked round 
to see if she was speaking of my baby ; but no, my dear, 
this superlative apostirophe was elicited by the fairness of 
my sMn : so much for degrees of comparison. Now I 
suppose that if I chose to walk arm in arm with the din- 
giest niulatto through the streets of Philadelphia, nobody 
could possibly tell by my complexion that I was not his 
sister, so that the mere quality of mistress must have had 
a most miraculous effect upon my skin in the eyes of poor 
Rose. But this species of outrageous flattery is as usual 
with these people as with the low Irish,' and arises from 
the ignorant desire, common to both the races, of propi- 
tiating at all costs the fellow-creature who is to them as a 
Providence — or rather, I should say, a fate — for 'tis a 
heatheii and no Christian relationship. Soon after this 
visit, I was summoned into the wooden porch or piazza 
of the house, to see a poor woman who desired to speak 
to me. This was none other than the tall, emaciated- 
looking negress who, on the day of our arrival, had em- 
braced me and my nurse with such irresistible zeal. She 
appeared very ill to-day, and presently unfolded to me a 
most distressing history of bodily afflictions. She was 
the mother of a very large family, and complained to me 
that, what with childbearing and hard field labor, her 
back was almost broken in two. With an almost savage 
vehemence of gesticulation, she suddenly tore up her 
scanty clothing, and exhibited a spectacle with which I 


was inconceivably sbocked and sickened. The facts, -with- 
out any of her corroborating statements, bore tolerable 
witness to the hardships of her existence. I promised to 
attend to her ailments and give her proper remedies ; but 
these are natural results, inevitable and irremediable ones, 
of improper treatment of the female frame; and, .though 
there may be alleviation, there can not be any cure when 
once the beautiful and wonderful structure has been thus 
made the victim of ignorance, folly, and wickedness. 

After the departure of this poor woman, I walked 
down the settlement toward the Infirmary or hospital, 
calling in at one or two of the houses along the row. 
These cabins consist of one room, about twelve feet by fif- 
teen, with a couple of closets smaller and closer than the 
state-rooms of a ship, divided off from the main room and 
each other by rough wooden partitions, in which the in- 
habitants sleep. They have almost all of them a rude 
bedstead, with the gray moss of the forests for mattressi 
and filthy, pestilential -looking blankets for covering. 
Two families (sometimes eight and ten in number) reside 
in one of these huts, which are mere wooden frames pin- 
ned, as it were, to the earth by a brick chimney outside, 
wh6se enormous aperture within pours down a flood of 
air, but little counteracted by the miserable spark of fire, 
which hardly sends an attenuated thread of lingering 
smoke up its huge throat. A wide ditch runs immedi- 
ately at the back of these dwellings, which is filled and 
emptied daily by the tide. Attached to each hovel is a 
small scrap of ground for a garden, which, however, is for 
the most part untended and uncultivated. Such of these 
dwellings as I visited to-day were filthy and wretched in- 
the extreme, and exhibited that most deplorable conse- 
quence of ignorance and an abject condition, the inability 
of the inhabitants to secure and improve even such pitifidi 
comfort as might yet be achieved by them. Instead of 


the order, neatness, and ingenuity which might convert 
even these miserable hovels into tolerable residences, 
there was the careless, reckless, filthy indolence which 
even the brutes do not exhibit in their lairs and nests, 
and which seemed incapable of applying to the uses of 
existence the few miserable means of comfort yet within 
their reach. Firewood and shavings lay littered about 
the floors, while the half-naked children were cowering 
round two or three smouldering cinders. The moss with 
which the chinks and crannies of their ill-protecting 
dwellings might have been stuffed was trailing in dirt 
and dust about the ground, while the back door of the 
huts, opening upon a most -unsightly ditch, was left wide 
open for the fowls and ducks, which they are allowed to 
raise, to travel in and ottt, increasing the filth of the 
cabin by what they brought and left in every direction. 
In the midst of the floor, or squatting round the cold 
hearth, would be four or five little children from four to 
ten years old, the latter all with babies in their arms, the 
care of the infants being taken from the mothers (who 
are driven afield as soon as they recover from child labor), 
and devolved upon these poor little nurses, as they are 
called, whose business it is to watch the infant, and carry 
it to its mother whenever it may require nourishment. 
To these hardly human little beings I addressed my re- 
monstrances about the filth, cold, and unnecessary wretch- 
edness of their room, bidding the .elder boys and girls 
kindle up the fire, sweep the floor, and expel the poultry. 
For a long time my very^words seemed unintelligible to 
them, till, when I began to sweep and make up the fire, 
etc., they first fell to laughing, and then imitating me. 
The incrustations of dirt on their hands," feet, and faces 
were my_^next object of attack, and the stupid negro prac- 
tice (by-the-by, but a short time since nearly Universal in 
enlightened Europe) of keeping the babies with their feet 


bare, and their heads, already well capped by nature with 
their woolly hair, wrapped in half a dozen hot, filthy 
coverings. Thus I traveled down the " street," in every 
dwelling endeavoring to awaken a new perception, that 
of cleanliness, sighing, as I went, over the futility of my 
own exertions, for how can slaves be improved ? • Nath- 
less, thought I, let what can be done ; for it may be that, 
the two being incompatible, improvement may yet expel 
slavery ; and so it might, and surely would, if, instead of 
beginning at the end, I could but begin at the beginning 
of my task. If the mind and soul were awakened, instead 
of mere physical good attempted, the physical good would 
result, and the great curse vanish away ; but my hands 
are tied fast, and this corner of the work is all that I may 
do. Yet it can not be but, from my words and actions, 
some revelations should reach these poor people; and 
going in and out among them perpetually, I shall teach, 
and they learn involuntarily a thousand things of deepest 
import. They must learn, and who can tell the fruit of 
that knowledge alone, that there are beings in the world, 
even with' skins of a different color from their, own, who 
have sympathy for their misfortunes, love for their vir- 
tues, and respect for their common nature — ^but oh ! my 
heart is full almost to bursting as I walk among these 
most poor creatures, t 

The Infirmary is a large two-story building, termina- 
ting the broad orange-planted space between the two 
rows of houses which form the first settlement; it is 
built of whitewashed wood, and contains four large^sized 
rooms. But how shall I describe to you the spectacle 
which was presented to me on entering the first of 
these ? But half the casements, of which there were six, 
were glazed, and these were obscured with dirt, almost as 
much as the other windowless ones were darkened by the 
dingy shutters, which the shivering inmates had fastened 


to in order to protect themselves from the cold. In the enor- 
mous chimney glimmered the powerless emhers of a few- 
sticks of wood, round which, however, as many of the sick 
women as could approach were cowering, some on wood- 
en settles, most of them on the ground, excluding those 
who were too ill to rise ; and these last poor wretches lay 
"prostrate on the floor, without bed, mattress, or pillow, hur- 
led in tattered and filthy blankets, which, huddled round 
them as they lay strewed about, left hardly space to move 
upon the floor. And here, in their hour of sickness and 
sufiering, lay those whose health and strength are spent 
in unrequited labor for us — those who, perhaps even yes- 
terday, were being urged on to their unpaid task — those 
whose husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons were even at 
that hour Sweating, over the earth, whose produce was to 
buy for us all the luxuries which health can revel in, all the 
comforts which can alleiviate sickness; I stood in.the midst 
of them, perfectly unable to speak, the tears pouring from 
my eyes at this sad spectacle of their misery, myself and 
my emotion alike strange and incomprehensible to them. 
Here lay women expecting every hour the terrors and ago- 
nies of childbirth. Others whohad just brought their doom- 
ed ofisprihg into the world, others who were groaning over 
the anguish and bitter disappointment of miscarriages — 
here lay some burning with fever, others chilled with cold 
and aching with rheumatism, upon the hard cold ground, 
the draughts and dampness of the atmosphere increasing 
their sufferings, and dirt, noise, and stench, and every ag- 
gravation of which, sickness is capable, combined in their 
condition — here they lay like brute beasts, absorbed in 
physical suffering ; unvisited by any of those Divine influ- 
ences which may ennoble the dispensations of pain and ill- 
ness, forsaken, as it seemed to me, of all good ; and yet, 
O God, Thou surely hadst not forsaken them ! Now pray 
take notice that this is the hospital of an estate where the 



owners are supposed to be humane, the overseer efficient 
and kind, and the negroes remarkably well cared for and 
comfortable. As soon as I recovered from my dismay, I 
addressed old Rose the midwife, who had charge of this 
room, bidding her open the shutters of such windows as 
were glazed, and let in the light-. I next proceeded to 
make up the fii'e ; but, upon my lifting a log for that pur-' 
pose, there was one universal outcry of horror, and old 
Rose, attempting to snatch it from me, exclaimed, " Let 
alone, missis — ^let be; what for you lift wood? you have 
nigger enough, missis, to do it !" I hereupon had to ex- 
plain to them my view of the purposes for, which hands 
and arms were appended to our bodies, and forthwith be- 
gan making Rose tidy up the miserable apartment, remov- 
ing all the filth and rubbish from the floor that could be 
removed, folding up in piles the blankets of the patients 
who were not using thein,.and placing, in rather more 
sheltered and comfortable positions, those who were un- 
able to rise. It was aU, that I could do, and having en- 
forced upon theni all my earnest desire that they should 
keep their room swept, and as tidy as possible, I passed 
on to the other room on the ground floor, and to the two 
above, one of which is appropriated to the use of the men 
who are ill. They were all in the same deplorable condi- 
tion, the upper rooms being rather the more miserable, in- 
asmuch as none of the windows were glazed at all, and 
they had, therefore, only the alternative of utter darkness, 
or killing draughts of air from the unsheltered casements. 
In all, filth,, disorder, and misery abounded ; the floor was 
the only bed, and scanty begrimed rags of blankets the 
only covering. I left this refuge for Mr. -. — 's sick de- 
pendents with my clothes covered with dust, and full of 
vermin, and with a heart heavy enough, as you will well 
believe. My morning's work had fatigued me not a little, 
and I was glad to return to the house, where I gave vent 


to my indignation and regret at the scene I bad just wit- 
nessed to Mr. and his overseer, -who, here, is a mem- 
ber of our family. The latter told me that the condition 
of the hospital had appeared to Tiim, from his first enter- 
ing upon hia situation (only within the last year), to re- 
quire a reform, and that he had proposed it to the former 

manager, Mr. K , and Mr. 's brother, who is part 

proprietor of the estate, but, receiving no encouragement 
from them, had supposed that it was a matter of indiffer- 
ence to the. owners, and had left it in the condition in 
which he had found it, in which condition it has been for 
the last nineteen years and upward. 

This new overseer of ours has lived fourteen years with 
an old Scotch gentleman, who owns an estate adjoining 

Mr. r-% on the island of St. Simon's, upon which estate, 

from every thing I can gather, and from what I know of 
the proprietor's character, the. slaves are probably treated 
with as much humanity as is consistent with slavery at all, 
and where the management and comfort of the hospital 
in particular had been most carefully and judiciously at- 
tended to. With regard to the indifference of our former 
manager upon the subject of the accommodation for the 
sick, he was an excellent overseer, videlicet the estate re- 
turned a.fuU income under his management, and such men 
have nothing to do with sick slaves : they are tools, to be 
mended only if they can be made available again; if not, 
to be flung by as useless, without farther expense of money, 
time, or trouble. 

I am learning to row here, for circumscribed, as my 
walks necessarily are, impossible as it is to resort to my 
favorite exercise on horseback upon these narrow dikes, I 
must do something to prevent my bltfod from stagnating ; 
and this broad brimming river, and the beautiful light 
canoes which lie moored at' the steps, are very inviting 
persuaders to this species of exercise. My first attempt 

36 JOUENAL 01" 

was confined to pulling an oar across the stream, for 
which I rejoiced in sundry aches and pains altogether 
novel, letting alone a delightful row of blisters on each of 
my hands. 

I forgot to tell you that in the hospital were several 
sick babies, whose mothers were permitted to suspend 
their field labor in order to nurse them. Upon address- 
ing some remonstrances to one of these, who, besides hav- 
ing a sick child, was iU herself, about the horribly dirty 
condition of her baby, she assured me that it was impos- 
sible for them to keep their children clean; that they 
went out to work at daybreak,' and did not get their tasks 
done till evening, and that then they were too tired and 
worn out to do any thing but throw themselves down 
and sleep. This statement of hers I mentioned on my 
return from the hospital, and the overseer appeared ex- 
tremely annoyed by it, and assured me repeatedly that it 
was not true. 

In the evening Mr. , who had been over toDarien, 

mentioned that one of the storekeepers there had told 
him that, in the course of a few years, he had paid the 
negroes of this estate several thousand dollars for moss, 
which is a very profitable article of traffic with them: 
they collect it from the trees, dry and pick it, and then 
sell it to the people in Darien for mattresses, sofas, and 
all sorts of stuffing purposes, which, in my opinion, it an- 
swers better than any other material whatever that I am 
acquainted with, being as light as horserhair, as springy 
and elastic, and a great deal less harsh and rigid. It is 

now bedtime, dear E , and I doubt not it has been 

sleepy time with you over this letter long ere you came 
thus far. There is a preliminary to my repose, however, 
m this agreeable residence, which I rather dread, namely, 
the huntmg for, or discovering without hunting, in fine 
relief upon the whitewashed walls of my bedroom, a most 


hideous and detestable species of reptile called centipedes, 
■which come out of the cracks and crevices of the walls, 
and fill my very heart with dismay. They are from an 
inch to' two inches long, and appear to have not a hund- 
red, hut a thousand legs. I can not ascertain very cer- 
tainly from the negroes whether they sting or not, but 
they look exceedingly as if they might, and I visit my 
babies every night in fear and trembling, lest I should 
find one or more of these hateful creatures mounting 
guard over them. Good-night ; you are well to be free 
from centipedes — ^better to be free from slaves. 

Deae E , — ^This morning I paid my second visit to 

the Infirmary, and found there had been some faint at- 
tempt at sweeping and cleaning, in compliance with my 
entreaties. The poor woman Harriet, however, whose 
statement with regard to the impossibility of their attend- 
ing properly to their children had been so vehemently 
denied by the overseer, was crying bitterly. I asked her 
what ailed her, when, more by signs and dumb show than 

words, she and old Rose inforined me that Mr. O had 

flogged her that morning for having told me that the 
women had not time to keep their children clean. It is 
part of the regular duty of every overseer to visit the In- 
firmary at least once a day, which he generally does in 

the morning, and Mr. O -'s visit had preceded mine 

but a short time only, or I might have been edified by 
seeing a man horsewhip a woman. I again and" a;gain 
made her repeat her story, and she again and again 
affirmed that she had been flogged, for what she told me, 
none of the whole company in the room denying it or 
contradicting her. I left the room because I was so dis- 
gusted and indignant that I could hardly restr&in my feel- 
ings, and to express them could have produced no single 


good result. In the next ward, stretclied upon the 
ground, apparently either asleep or so overcome with 
sickness as to he incapable of moving, lay an immense 
woman ; her stature, as she cumbered the earth, must 
have been, I should think, five feet seven or eight, and 
her bulk enormous. She was wrapped in .filthy rags, and 
lay with her face on the floor. As I approached, and 
stooped to see what ailed her, she suddenly threw out 
her arms, and, seized with violent convulsions, rolled over 
and over upon the floor, beating her head violently upon 
the ground, and throwing her enormous limbs about in a 
horrible manner. Immediately upon the occurrence of 
this fit, four or five women threw themselves literally 
upon her,- and held her down by main force;. they even 
proceeded to bind her legs and arms together, to prievent 
her dashing herself about ; but this violent coercion and 
tight bandaging seemed to me, in my profotod igno- 
rance, more likely to increase her iUness by impeding her 
breathing and the circulation of her blood, and I bade them 
desist, and unfasten all the strings and ligatures not only 
that they had put round her limbs, but which, by tighten- 
ing her clothes round her body, caused any obstruction. 
How much I wished that, instead of music, and dancing, 
and such stufi", I had learned something of sickness and 
health, of the conditions and liabilities of the human 
body, that I might have known how to assist this poor 
creature, and to direct her ignorant and helpless nurses ! 
The fit presently subsided, and was succeeded by the 
most deplorable prostration and weakness of nerves, the 
tears streaming down the poor woman's cheeks in show- 
ers, without, however, her uttering a single word, though 
she moaned incessantly. After bathing her forehead, 
hands, and chest with vinegar, we raised her up, and I 
sent to- the* house for a chair with a back (there was no 
such thing in the hospital), and we contrived to place her 


in it. I have seldom seen finer ■women than this poor 
oreatm-e and her younger sister, an immense strapping 
lass called Chloe — tall, straight, and extremely well 
made — who was assisting her sister, and whom I had re- 
marked, for the extreme delight and merriment which my 
cleansing propensities seemed to give her, on my last 
visit to the hospital. She was here taking care of a siclr 
baby, and helping to nurse her sister Molly, who, it seems, 
is subject to those fits, about which I spoke to our phy- 
sician here — an intelligent man residing in Darien, who 
visits the estate whenever medical assistance is required. 
He seemed to attribute them to nervous disorder, brought 
on by frequent childbearing. This woman is young, I sup- 
pose at the outside not thirty, and her sister informed me 

that she had had ten chil,dren — ten children, E ! Fits 

and hard labor in the fields, unpaid labor, labor exacted 
with stripes^ — how do you fancy that ? I wonder if my 
mere narration can make your blood boil as the facts did 
mine ? Among the patients in this room was a young 
girl, apparently from fourteen to fifteen, whose hands and 
feet were literally rotting away piecemeal, from the efiect 
of a horrible disease, to which the negroes are subject 
here, and I believe in the West Indies, and when it at- 
tacks the joints of the toes and fingers, the pieces abso- 
lutely decay and come ofij leaving the limb a maimed and 
horrible stump ! I believe no cure is known for this dis- 
gusting malady, which seems confined to these poor crea- 
tures. Another disease, of which they complained much, 
and which, of course, I was utterly incapable of account- 
ing for, was a species of lock-jaw, to which their babies 
very frequently fall victims in the first or second week 
after their birth, refusing the breast, and the mouth grad- 
ually losing the power of opening itself. The horrible 
diseased state of head, common among their babies, is a 
mere result of filth and confinement, and therefore, though 


I never any where saw such distressing and disgusting oh- 
jects as some of these poor little woolly skulls presented, 
the cause was sufficiently obvious. Pleurisy, or a tend- 
ency to it, seems very common among them ; also peri- 
pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs, which is terribly 
prevalent, and generally fatal. Rheumatism is almost 
universal ; and as it proceeds from exposure, and want of 
knowledge and care, attacks indiscriminately the young 
and old. A great number of the women are victims to- 
falling of the womb and weakness iu the spine ; but these 
are necessary results of their laborious existence, and do 
not belong either to climate or constitution. 

I have ingeniously contrived to introduce bribery, cor- 
ruption, and pauperism, all in a breath, upon this island, 
which, until my advent, was as innocent of these pollu- 
tions, I suppose, as Prospero's isle of refuge. Wishing, 
however, to appeal to some perception, perhaps a little 
less dim in their minds than the abstract loveliness of 
cleanlinesSjIhave proclaimed to all the little baby nurses 
that I will give a cent to every little boy or girl whose 
baby's face shall be clean, and one to every individual with 
clean face and hands of their own. My appeal was fully 
comprehended by the majority, it seems, for this morn- 
ing I was surrounded, as soon as I came out, by a swarm 
of children carrying their little charges on their backs 
and in their arms, the shining, and, in many instances, wet 
faces and hands of the latter bearing ample testimony to 
the ablutions which had been inflicted upon them. How 
they will curse me aiid the copper cause of all their woes 
in their baby bosoms ! Do you know that, little as grown 
negroes are admirable for their personal beauty (in my 
opinion, at least), the black babies of a year or two old 
are very pretty; they have, for the most part, beautiful 
eyes and eyelashes, the pearly perfect teeth, which they 
retain after their other juvenile graces have left them • 


their skins are all (I mean of blacks generally) infinitely 
finer and softer than the skins of white people. Perhaps 
you are not aware that among the white race ih& finest 
grained skins generally belong to persons of dark com- 
plexion. This, as a characteristic of the black race, I think 
might be accepted as some compensation for the coarse 
woolly hair. The nose and mouth, which are so peculiar- 
ly displeasing in their conformation in the face of a negro 
man or woman, being the features least developed in a 
baby's countenance, do not at first present, the ugliness 
which they assume as they become more marked; and 
when the very unusual operation of washing has been per- 
formed, the blood shines through the fine texture of the 
skin, giving life and richness to the dingy color, and dis- 
playing a species of beauty which I think scarcely any 
body who observed it would fail to acknowledge. I have 
seen many babies on this plantation who were quite as 
pretty as white children, and this very day stooped to kiss 
a little sleeping creature that lay on its mother's knees in 
the Infirmary — as beautiful a specimen of a sleeping infant 
as I ever saw. The caress excited the irrepressible de- 
Ught of all the women present — ^poor creatures ! who seem- 
ed to forget that I was a woman, and had children myself, 
and bore a woman's and a mother's heart toward them 
and theirs ; but, indeed, the Honorable Mr. Slumkey could 
not have achieved more popularity by his performances in 
that line than I by this exhibition of feeling ; and, had the 
question been my election, I am very sure nobody else 
would have had a chance of a vote through the island. 
But wisely is it said that use is second nature, and the 
contempt and neglect to which these poor people are used 
make the commonest expression of human sympathy ap- 
pear a boon and gracious condescension. While I am 
speaking of the negro countenance, there is another beau- 
ty which is not at aU unfrequent among those I see here 


— a finely-shaped oval face^and those who know (as all 
painters and sculptors, all who understand beauty do) how 
much expression there is in the outline of the head, and 
how very rare it is to see a well-formed face, will be apt 
to consider this a higher matter than any coloring, of 
which, indeed, the red and. white one so often admired is 
by no means the most rich, picturesque, or expressive. 
At first the dark color confounded all features to my eye, 
and I could hardly tell one face from another. Becom- 
ing, however, accustomed to the complexion, I now per- 
ceive all the variety among these black countenances that 
there is among our own race, and as much difierence in 
features and in expression as among the same number of 
whites. There is another peculiarity which I have re- 
marked among the women here — :very considerable beau- 
ty in the make of the hands; their feet are very generally 
ill made, which must be a natural, and not an acquired de- 
fect, as they seldom injure their feet by wearing shoes. 
The figures of some of the women are handsome, and their 
carriage, from the absence of any confining or tighten- 
ing clothing, and the habit they have of balancing great 
weights on their heads, erect and good. 

At the upper end of the row of houses, and nearest to 
our overseer's residence, is the hut of the head driver. 
Let me explain, by the way, his office. The negi-oes, as I 
before told you, are divided into troops or gangs, as they 
are called ; at the head of each gang is a driver, who stands 
over them, whip in hand, whUe they perform their daily 
task, who renders an account of each individual slave and 
his work every evening to the overseer, and receives from 
him directions for their next day's tasks. Each driver is 
allowed to inflict a dozen lashes upon any refractory slave 
in the field, and at the time of the oflTense ; they may not, 
however, extend the chastisement, and if it is found inef- 
fectual, their remedy lies in reporting the unmanageable 


individual either to the head driver or the overseer, the 
former of whom has power to inflict three dozen lashes at 
his own discretion, and the latter as many as he himself 
sees fit, within the number of fifty ; which limit, however, 
I must tell you, is an arbitrary one on this plantation, ap- 
pointed" by the founder of the estate. Major , Mr. 

^'s grandfather, many of whose regulations, indeed I 

believe most of them, are still observed in the. govern- 
ment of the plantation. Limits of this sort, however, to 
the power of either driver, head driver, or overseer, may 
or may not exist elsewhere ; they are, to a certain degree, 
a check upon the power of these individuals ; but in the 
absence of the master, the overseer may confine himself 
within the limit or not, as he chooses ; and as for the mas- 
ter himsel:^ where is his limit ? He may, if he likes, flog 
a slave to death, for the laws which pretend that he may 
not are a mere pretense, inasmuch as the testimony of a 
black is never taken against a white ; and upon this plan- 
tation of ours, and a thousand more, the overseer is the 
only white man, so whence should come the testimony to 
any crime of his ? With regard to the oft-repeated state- 
ment that it is not the owner's interest to destroy his hu- 
man property, it answers nothing ; the instances in which 
men, to gratify the immediate impulse of passion, sacri- 
fice hot only then* eternal, but their evident, palpable,, pos- 
itive worldly interest, are infinite. Nothing is commoner 
than for a man under the transient influence of anger to 
disregard his worldly advantage; and the black slave, 
whose preservation is indeed supposed to be his owner's 
interest, may be, will be, and is occasionally sacrificed to 
the blind impulse of passion. 

To return to our head driver, or, as he is familiarly 
called, head man, Frank— he is second in authority only 
to the overseer, and exercises rule alike over the drivei's 
and the gangs in the absence of the sovereign white man 


from the estate, which happens whenever Mr. O visits 

the other two plantations at Woodville and St. Simon's. 
He is sole inaster and governor of the island, appoints the 
work, pronounces punishments, gives permission to the 
men to leave the island (without it they never may do so), 
and exercises all functions of undisputed mastery over his 
fellow-slaves, for you will observe that air .this while he is 
just as much a slave as any of the rest. Trustworthy, 
upright, intelligent, he may be flogged to-morrow if Mr. 

O or Mr. so please it, and sold the next day, like 

a cart-horse, at the will of the latter. Besides his various 
other responsibilities, he has the key of all the stores, and 
gives out the people's rations weekly ; nor is it only the 
people's provisions that are put under his charge-^meat, 
which is only given out to them occasionally, and provi- 
sions for the use of the family, are also intrusted to his 
care. Thus you see, among these inferior creatures, their 
own masters yet look to find, surviving all their best ef- 
forts to destroy them, good sense, honesty, self-denial, and 
all the qualities, mental and moral, that make one man 
worthy to be trusted by another. From the impercepti- 
ble but inevitable effect of the sympathies and influences 
of human creatures toward and over each other, Frank's 
intelligence has become uncommonly developed by inti- 
mate communion in the. discharge of his duty with the 
former overseer, a very intelligent man, who has only just 
left the estate, after managing it for nineteen years ; the 
effect of this intercourse, and of the trust and responsibil- 
ity laid upon the man, are that he is clear-headed, well 
judging, active, intelhgent, extremely well mannered, and, 
being respected, he respects himself.' He is as ignorant 
as the rest of the slaves ; but he is always clean and tidy 
in his person, with a courteousness of demeanor far re- 
moved from servility, and exhibits a strong instance of 
the intolerable and wicked injustice of the system under 


which he lives, having advanced thus far toward improve- 
ment, in spite of all the bars it puts to progress ; and here 
being arrested, not by want of energy, want of sense, or 
any want of his own, but by being held as another man's 
property, who can only thus hold him by forbidding him 
farther improvement. When I see that man, who keeps 
himself a good deal aloof from the rest, in his leisure hours 
looking, with a countenance of deep thought, as I did to- 
day, over the broad river, which is to him as a prison wall, 
to the fields and forest beyond, not one inch or branch of 
which his. utmost industry can conquer as his own, or ac- 
quire and leave an independent heritage to his children, I 
marvel what the thoughts of such a man may be. I was 
in his house to-day, and the same superiority in cleanli- 
ness, comfort, and propriety exhibited itself in his dwell- 
ing as in his own personal appearance and that of his wife 
— a most active, trustworthy, excellent woman, daughter 
of the oldest, and probably most highly respected of all 
Mr.- 's slaves. To the excellent conduct of this wom- 
an, and, indeed, every member of her family, both the pres- 
ent and the last overseer bear unqualified testimony. 

As I was returning toward the house after my long 
morning's lou«ge, a man rushed out of the blacksmith's 
shop, and, catching me by the skirt of my gown, poured 
forth a torrent of self-gratulations' on havmg at length 
found the "right missis." ' They have no idea, of course, 
of a white person ]performing any of the offices of a serv- 
ant, and as throughout the whole Southern country the 
owner's children are nursed and tended, and sometimes 
suckled by their slaves (I wonder how this inferior milk 
agrees with the lordly white babies?), the appearance of 

M with my two children had immediately' suggested 

the idea that she must be the missis. ^ Many of the poor 
negroes flocked to her, paying their profound homage 
under this impression ; and when she explained to them 


that she was not their owner's \^ife, the confusion in their 
minds seemed very great — Heaven only knows whejiher 
they did not conclude that they had two mistresses, and 

Mr. two wives ; for the privileged race must seem, 

in their eyes, to have such absolute masterdom on earth, 
that perhaps they thought polygamy might be one of the 
sovereign white men's numerous indulgences.. The ec- 
stasy of the blacksmith on discovering the "right missis" 
at last was very funny, and was expressed with such ex- 
traordinary grimaces, contortions, and gesticulations, that 
I thought I should have died of laughing at this raptur- 
ous identification of my most melancholy relation to the 
poor fellow. 

Having at length extricated myself from the group 
which forms round me whenever I stop but for a few 
minutes, I pursued my voyage of discovery by peeping 
into the kitchen garden. I dared do no more ; the aspect 
of the place would have rejoiced the very soul of Solo- 
mon's sluggard of old — a few cabbages and weeds innu- 
merable filled the neglected-looking inclosure, and I ven- 
tured no farther than the entrance into its most uninviting 
precincts. You are to understand that upon this swamp 
island of ours we have quite a large stock of cattle, cows, 
sheep, pigs, and poultry in the most enormous and incon- 
venient abundance. The cows are pretty miserably off 
for pasture, the banks and pathways of the dikes being 
their only grazing ground, which the sheep perambulate 
also, in earnest search of a nibble of fresh herbage; both 
the cows and sheep are fed with rice flour in great abnn-- 
dance, and are pretty often carried down for change of 

air and more sufficient grazing to Hampton, Mr. 's 

estate, on the island of St. Simon's, fifteen miles from this 
place, farther down the river — or rather, indeed,! should 
say in the sea, for 'tis salt water all round, and one end of 
the island has a noble beach open to the vast Atlantic. 


The pigs thrive admirably here, and attain very great per- 
fection of size and flavor, the rice flour upon which they 
are Shiefly fed tending to make them very delicate. As 
for the poultry, it being one of the few privileges of the 
poor blacks to raise as many as they can, their abundance 
is literally a nuisance— ducks, fowls, pigeons, turkeys (the 
two latter species, by-the-by, are exclusively the master's 
property), cluck, scream, gabble, gobble, crow, cackle, 
fight, fly, and flutter in all directions, and to their im- 
mense concourse, and the perfect freedom with which 
they intrude themselves even into the piazza of the house, 
the pantry, and kitchen, I partly attribute the swarms of 
fleas, and other still less agreeable vermin, with which we 
are most horribly pestered. 

My walk lay to-day along the bank of a canal, which has 
been dug through nearly the whole length of the island, 
to render more direct and easy the transportation of the 
rice from one end of the estate to another, or from the va- 
rious distant fields to the principal mill at Settlement No. 
1. It is of considerable width and depth, and opens by 
various locks into the river. It has, unfortunately, no 
trees on its banks, but a good foot-path renders it, in spite 
of that deficiency, about the best walk on the island. I 
passed again to-day one of those beautiful evergreen thick- 
ets, which I described to you in my last letter; it is call- 
ed a reserve, and is kept uncleared and uncultivated in its 
natural swampy condition, to allow of the people's pro- 
curing their firewood from it. I can not get accustomed, 
so as to be indifierent to this exquisite natural ornament- 
al growth, and think, as I contemplate the various and 
beautiful foliage of these watery woods, how many of our 
finest English parks and gardens owe their chiefest adorn- 
ments to plantations of these shrubs, procured at immense 
cost, reared with infinite pains and care, which are here 
basking in the winter's sunshine, waiting to be cut down 


for firewood ! These little groves are peopled with wild 
pigeons and birds, which they designate here as black- 
birds. These sometimes rise from the rice fields with a 
whirr of multitudinous wings that is almost, startling, and 
positively overshadow the ground beneath like a cloud. 

I had a conversation that interested me a good deal, 
during my walk to-day, with my peculiar slave Jack. 
This lad, whom Mr. —^ has appointed to attend me in 
my roamihgs about the island, and rowing expeditions on 
the river, is the son of the last head driver, a man of very 
extraordinary intelligence and faithfulness — such, at least, 
is the account given of him by his employers (in the buri- 
al-ground of the negroes is a stone dedicated to his mem- 
ory, a mark of distinction accorded by his masters, which 
his son never failed to point out to me when we passed 
that way). Jack appears to inherit his quickness of ap- 
prehension ; his questions, like those of an intelligent 
child, are absolutely inexhaustible ; his curiosity about all 
things 'beyond this island, the prison-house of his exist- 
ence, is perfectly intense ; his countenance is very pleas- 
ing, mild, and not otherwise than thoughtful ; he is, in 
common with the rest of them, a stupendous flatterer, and, 
like the rest of them, also seems devoid of physical and 
moral courage. To-day, in the midst of his torrent of in- 
quiries about places and things, I suddenly asked him if 
he would like to be free. A gleam of light absolutely 
I shot over his whole countenance, like the vivid and in- 
[stantaneous lightning ; he stammered, hesitated, became 
lexcessively confused, and at length replied, " Free, missis ! 
Isvhat for me wish to be free ? Oh no, missis, me no wish 
/to be free, if massa only let we keep pig !" The fear of 
offending by uttering that forbidden wish — ^the dread of 
admitting, by its expression, the slightest discontent with 
his present situation — the desire to conciliate my favor, 
even at the expense of strangling the intense natural long- 


ing that albsolutely glowed in his every feature — it was a 
sad sj)eotaole, and I repented my question. As for the 
pitiful request, which he reiterated several times, adding, 
"No, missis, me no want to be free; me work till me 
die for missis and massa," with increased emphasis ; it 
amounted only to this, that negroes once were, but no 
longer are, permitted to keep pigs. The increase of filth 
and foul smells consequent upon their being raised is, of 

course, very great ; ' and, moreovei", Mr. told me, 

when I preferred poor Jack's request to him, that their 
allowance was no more than would suffice their own ne- 
cessity, and that they had not the means of feeding the 
animals. With a little good management they might 
very easily obtain them, however ; their little "kaU-yard" 
alone would suffice to it, and the pork and bacon would 
prove a most welcome addition to their farinaceous diet. 
You perceive at once (or, if you could have seen the boy's 
face, you would have perceived at once) that his situation 

was no mystery to him ; that his value to Mr. , and, as 

he supposed, to me, was perfectly well known to him, and 
that he comprehended immediately that his expressing 
even the desire to be free might be construed by me into 
an offense, and sought, by eager protestations of his de- 
lighted acquiescence in slavery, to conceal his soul's nat- 
ural yearning, lest I should resent it. 'Twas a sad pas- 
sage between us, and sent me home full of the most pain- 
ful thoughts. I told Mr. , with much indignation, of 

poor Harriet's flogging, and represented that if the peo- 
ple were to be chastised for any thing they said to me, I 
must leave the place, as I could not but hear their com- 
plaints, and. endeavor, by all my miserable limited means, 
to better their condition while I was here. He said he 

would ask Mr. O about it, assuring me, at the same 

time, that it was impossible to believ.e a single word any 
of these people said. At dinner, accordingly, the inquiry 



was made as to the cause of her punishment, and Mr, 

O then said it was not at all for what she had told 

me that he had flogged her, hut for having answered him 
impertinently; that he had ordered her into the field, 
whereupon she had said she was ill and could not work ; 
that he retorted he knew better, and bade her get up and 
go to work; she replied, "Very well, I'll go, but I shall 
just come back again !" meaning that when in the field 
she would be unable to work, and obliged to return to the 

hospital. " For this reply," Mr. O r said, " I gave her 

a good lashing ; it was her business to have gone into the 
field without- answering me, and then we should have 
soon seen whether she could work or not ; I gave it to 
Chloe too for some such impudence." I give you the 
words of the conversation, which was prolonged to a great 
length, the overseer complaining of the sham sicknesses 
of the slaves, and detailing the most disgusting struggle 
which is going on the whole time, on the one hand to in- 
flict, and on- the other to evade oppression and injustice. 
With this sauce I ate my dinner, and truly it tasted bit- 

Toward sunset I went on the river to take my rowing 
lesson. A darling little canoe, which cai'ries two oars and 
a steersman, and rejoices in the appropriate title, of the 
" D^liin," is my especial vessel ; and with Jack's help 
and instructions, I contrived this evening to row- upward 
-" of half a mile, coasting the reed-crowned edge of the isl- 
and to another very large rice mill, the enormous wheel 
of which is turned by the tide. A small bank of mud and 
sand, covered with reedy coarse grass, divides the river 
into two arms on this side of the island ; the deep chan- 
nel is on the outside of this bank, and as we rowed home 
this evening, the tide having fallen, we scraped sand al- 
most the whole way. Mr. ^'s domain, it seems to me, 

will presently fill up this shallow stream, and join itself to 


the above-mentioned mud-bank. The whole course of 
this most noble river is full of shoals, banks, mud, and 
sand-bars, and the navigation, ■which is difficult .to those 
who know it well, is utterly baffling to the inexperienced. 
The fact is, that the two elements are so fused hereabouts 
that there are hardly such things as earth or water proper; 
that which styles: itself the former is a fat, muddy, slimy 
sponge, that, floating, half under the turbid river, looks yet 
saturated with the thick waves which every now and then 
reclaim their late dominion, and cover it almost entirely ; 
the water, again, cloudy and yellow, like pea-soup, seems 
but a solution of such islands, rolling turbid and thick 
with alluvium, which it both gathers and deposits as it 
sweeps along with a swollen, smooth rapidity, that almost 
deceives the eye. Amphibious creatures, alligators, ser- 
pents, and wild-fowl haunt these yet but half-formed re- 
gions, where land and water are of the consistency of 
hasty-pudding — :the one seeming too unstable to wait on, 
the other almost too thick to float in. But then the sky 
— if no human chisel ever yet cut breath, neither did any 
human pen ever write light ; if it did, mine should spread 
out before you the unspeakable glories of these Southern 
heavens, the safiron brightness of morning, the blue in- 
tense brilUancy of noon, the golden splendor and the rosy 
softness of sunset. Italy and Claude Lorraine may go 
hang themselves together ! Heaven itself does not seem 
brighter or more beautiful to the imagination than these 
surpassing pageants of fiery rays, and piled-up beds of or- 
ange, golden clouds, with edges too bright to look on, 
scattered wreaths of faintest rosy bloom, amber streaks 
and pale green lakes between, and amid sky all mingled 
blue and rose tints, a spectacle to make one fall over the 
side of the boat, with one's head broken off with looking 
adoringly upward, but which, on paper, means nothing. 
At six o'clock our little canoe grazed the steps at the 


landing. These were covered with young women, and 
■boys, and girls, drawing water for their various household 
purposes. A very small cedar paU — a piggin as they 
termed it — serves to scoop up the river water ; and hav- 
ing, by this means, filled a large bucket, they transfer this 
to their heads, and, thus laden, march home with the puri- 
fying element — what to do with it I can not imagine, for 
evidence of its ever having been introduced into their 
dwelhngs I saw none. As I ascended the stairs, they sur- 
rounded me with shrieks and yeUs of joy, uttering excla- 
mations of delight and amazement at my rowing. Con- 
sidering that they dig, delve, carry burdens, and perform 
many more athletic exercises than pulling a light oar, I 
was rather amused at this ; but it was the singular fact 
of seeing a white woman stretch her sinews in any toil- 
some exercise which astounded them, accustomed as they 
are to see both men and women of the privileged skin es- 
chew the slightest shadow of labor as a thing not only 
painful, but degrading. ' They will learn another lesson 
from me, however, whose idea of heaven was pronounced 
by a friend of mine, to whom I once communicated it, to 
be " devilish hard work !" It was only just six o'clock, 
and these women had all done their tasks. I exhorted 
them to go home and wash their children, and clean" thek 
houses and themselves, which they professed themselves 
ready to do, but said they had no soap. Then began a 
chorusr of mingled requests for soap, for summer clothing; 
and a variety of things, which, if "Missis only give we, 
we be so clean forever !" 

This request for summer clothing, by-the-by, I think a 
very reasonable one. The allowance of clothes made year- 
ly to each slave by the present regulations of the estate is 
a certain number of yards of flannel, and as much more 
of what they call plains — an extremely stout, thick, heavy 
woolen cloth, of a dark gray or blue color, which resem- 


Mes the species of carpet "we call drugget. This, and two 
pair of shoes, is the regular ration of clothing; but«these 
plains would be intolerable to any but negroes, even in 
winter, in this climate, and are intolerable to them in the 
summer. A far better arrangement, in my opinion, would 
be to increase their allowance of flannel and under cloth- 
ing, and to give them dark chintzes instead of these thick 
carpets, which are very often the only covering they wear 

■ at all. I did not impart all this to my petitioners, but, 
disengaging myself from them, for they held my hands 
and clothes, I conjiired them to offer us somie encourage- 

■ ment to better their ooiidition by bettering it as much as 
they could themselves— enforced the virtue of washing- 

- themselves and all belonging to them, and at length made 
good my retreat. As there is no particular reason why 
such a letter as this should ever come to an end, I had bet- 
ter spare you for the present. You shall have a faithful 
journal, I promise you, henceforward, as hitherto, from 
yours ever. 

Deae E , — We had a species of fish this morning 

for our breakfast which deserves more glory than I can 
bestow upon it. Had I been the ingenious man who wrote 
a poem upon fish, the white mullet of the Altamaha should 
have been at least my heroine's cousin. 'Tis the heaven- 
liest creature that goes upon fins. I took a long walk 
this morning to Settlement No. 3, the third village on the 
island. My way lay along the side of the canal, beyOnd 
which, and only divided from it by a raised narrow cause- 
way, rolled the brimming river, with its girdle of glitter- 
ing evergreens, while on my other hand a deep trench 
marked the line of the rice fields. It really seemed as if 
the increase of merely a shower of rain might join all these 
waters together, and lay the island under its original cov- 


ering again. I visited the people and hottses here. I 
found nothing in any respect different from what I have 
described to you at Settlement No. 1. During the course 
of my walk, I startled from its repose in one of the rice 
fields a huge blue heron. Tou must have seen, as I often 
have, these creatures stuffed in museums ; but 'tis another 
matter, and far more curious, to see them stalking on their 
stilts of legs over a rice field, and then, on your near ap- 
proach, see them spread their wide heavy wings, and throw 
themselves upon the air, with their long shanks flying 
after them in a most grotesque and laughable manner. 
They fly as if they did not know how to do it very well; 
but standing still, their height (between four and five feet) 
and peculiar color, a dusky, grayish blue, with black about 
the head, render their appearance very beautiful and strik- 

In the afternoon I and Jack rowed ourselves over to 
Darien. It is Saturday — the day of the week on which 
the slaves from the island are permitted to come over to 
the town to purchase such things as they may requii'e and 
can afford, and to dispose, to the best advantage, of their 
poultry, moss, and eggs. I met many of them paddling 
themselves singly in their slight canoes, scooped out of 
the trunk of a tree, and parties of three and four rowing 
boats of their own building, laden with their purchases, 
singing, laughing, talking, and apparently enjoying their 
holiday to the utmost. They all hailed me with shouts 
of delight as I pulled past them, and many were the in- 
junctions bawled after Jack to " mind and take good care 
of missis !" We returned home through the glory of a 
sunset all amber-colored and rosy, and found that one of 

the s:laves, a young lad for whom Mr. has a particular 

regard, was dangerously iU. Dr. H— was sent for ; and 

there is every probability that he, Mr. , and Mr. O 

will be up all night with the poor fellow. I shall write 


more to-morrow. To-day being Sunday, dear E , a 

large boat flill of Mr. 's people from Hampton came 

- up, to go to church at Darien, and to pay their respects 
to their master, and see their neV missis." The same 
scene was acted over again that occurred on our first ar- 
rival. A crowd clustered round the house door, to whom 
I and my babies were produced, and with every individ- 
ual of whom we h^d to shake hands some half a dozen 
times. They brought us up presents of eggs (their only 
wealth), beseeching us to take them ; and one young lad, 
the son of head man Frank, had a beautiful pair of chick- 
ens, which he offered most earnestly to S . We took 

one of them, not to mortify the poor fellow, and a green 
ribbon being tied round its leg, it became a sacred fowl, 
" little missis's chicken." By-the-by, this young man had 
so light a complexion, and such regular straight features, 
that, had I seen him any where else, I should have taken 
him for a southern European, or, perhaps, jn favor of bis 
tatters, a gipsy ; but certainly it never would have occur- 
red, to me that he was the son of negro parents. I ob- 
served this to Mr. , who merely replied, " He is the 

son of head man Frank and his wife Betty, and they are 
both black enough, as you see." The expressions of de- 
votion and delight of these pdor people are the most fei*- 
vent you can imagine. One of them, speaking to me of 

Mr. , and saying that they had heard that he had not 

been well, added, " Oh ! we hear so, missis, and we not 
know what to do. Oh ! missis, massa sick, all him people 
iroken /" 

Dr. H came again to-day to see the poor sick boy, 

who is doing much better, and bidding fair to recover. 
He entertained me with an account of the Darien society, 
its aristocracies and democracies, its little grandeurs and 
smaller pettinesses, its circles higher and lower, its social 

• jealousies, fine invisible lines of demarkation, impercepti- 


ble shades of different respectability, and delicate divisions 
of genteel, genteeler, genteelest. " For me,"* added the 
worthy doctor, " I can not well enter into the spirit of 
these nice distinctions'; it suits neither my taste nor my 
interest, and my house is, perhaps, the only one in Darien 
where you would find all these opposite and contending 
elements .combined." The doctor is connected with the 
aristocracy of the place, and, hke a wise man, remembers, 
notwithstanding, that those, who are not are. quite as liar 
ble to be ill, and call in medical assistance, as those who 
are. He is a shrewd,^ intelligent man, with an excellent 
knowledge of his profession, much kindness of heart, and 
apparent cheerful good temper. I have already severely 
tried the latter by the unequivocal expression of my opin- 
ions on the subject of slavery, and, though I perceived 
that it required all his selfcommand to listen with. any 
thing like patience to my highly incendiary and inflamina- 
tory doctrines, he yet did so, and though he was, I have 
no doubt, perfectly horror-stricken at the discovery, lost 
nothing, of his courtgsy or good-humor. By-the-by, I must 
tell you that, at an early period of the conversation, upon 
my saying, "I put all other considerations out of the ques- 
tion, and first propose to you the injustice of the system 
alone," " Oh," replied my friend the doctor, " if you put 
it upon that ground, you stump the question at once ; I 
have nothing to say to that, whatever, but," and then fol- 
lowed the usual ti:ain of pleadings— happiness, tenderness, 
care, indulgence, etc., etc., etc. — all the substitutes that 
may or may not be put in the place oi justice, and which 
these slaveholders attempt to persuade others, and per- 
haps themselves, effectually supply its want. After church 
hours the people came back from Darien. They are only 
permitted to go to Darien to church once a month. On 
the intermediate Sundays they assemble in the house of 
London, Mr. 's head cooper, an excellent and pious' 


man, who, Heaven alone knows how, has obtained some 
little knowledge of reading, and who reads prayers and 
the Bible to his fellow-slaves, and addresses them with ex- 
temporaneous exhortations. I have the greatest desire 
to attend one of these religious meetings, bu.t fear to put 
the people under any, the slightest restraint. However, I 
shall see by-and-by how they feel about it themselves. 

You have heard, of course, many and contradictory 
statements as to the degree of religious instruction af- 
forded to the negroes of the South, and their opportuni- 
ties of worship, etc. Until the late abolition movement, 
the spiritual interests of the slaves were about as little re- 
garded as their physical necessities. The outcry which 
has been raised with threefold force within the last few 
years against the whole system has induced its upholders 
and defenders to adopt, as ineasures of personal extenua- 
tion, some appearance of religious instruction (such as it 
is), and some pretense at physical indulgences (such as 
they are), bestowed apparently voluntarily upon their de- 
pendents. At Darien a church is appropriated to the 
especial use of the slaves, who are almost all of them 
Baptists here ; and a gentleman officiates in it (of course 
white), who, I understand, is very zealous in the cause of 
their spiritual well-being. He, like most Southern men, 
clergy or others, jump the present. life in their charities 
to the slaves, and go on to furnish them with all requisite 
conveniences for the next. There were a short time ago 
two free black preachers in this neighborhood, but they 
have lately been ejected from the place. I could not 
clearly learn, but one may possibly iniagine, upon what 

I do not think that a residence on a slave plantation is 
likely to be peculiarly advantageous to a child like my 
eldest. I was observing her to-day among her swarthy 
worshipers, for they follow her as such, and saw, with dis- 



may, the universal eagerness with which they sprang to 
obey her little gestures of command. She said something 
about a swing, and in less than five minutes head man 
Frank had e^pcted it for her, and a dozen young slaves 
were ready to swing little "missis." ■ , think of learn- 
ing to rule despotically your fellow-creatures before the 
first lesson of self-government has been well spelt over ! 
It makes me tremble ; but I shall find a remedy, or re- 
move myself and the child from this misery and ruin. 

You can not conceive any thing more grotesque than 
the Sunday trim of the poor people, their ideality,' as Mr. 
Combe would say, being, I should think, twice as big as 
any rational bump in their head. Their Sabbath toilet 
really presents the most ludicrous combination of incpn- 
gruities that you ca,n conceive — frills, flounces, ribbons ; 
combs stuck in their woolly heads, as if they held up any 
portion of the stifi" and ungovernable hair ; filthy finery, 
every color in the rainbow, and the deepest possible shades 
blended in fierce companionship roxmd one dusky visage ; 
head-handkerchiefs,»that put one's very eyes out from a 
mile ofi"; chintzes with sprawling patterns, that might be 
seen if the clouds were printed with them ; beads, bugles, 
flaring sashes, and, above all, little fanciful aprons, which 
finish these incongruous toilets with a sort of airy grace, 
which I assure you is perfectly indescribable. One young 
man, the eldest son and heir of our washerwoman Hannah, 
came to pay his respects to me in a magnificent black satin 
waistcoat, shirt gills which absolutely ingulfed his black 
visage, and neither shoes nor stockings on his feet. 

Among our visitors from St. Simon's to-day was Han- 
nah's mother (it seems to me that there is not a girl of 
sixteen on the plantations but has children, nor a woman 
of thirty but has grandchildren). Old House Molly, as 
she is called, from the circumstance of her having been 
one of the slaves employed in domestic oflSces during' Ma- 


jor ^B residence on the island, is one of the oldest and 

most respeeted slaves on the estate, and was introduced 

to me by Mr. with especial marks of attention and 

regard ; she ahsolutely embraced him, and seemed unable 
sufficiently to express her ecstasy at seemg him again. 
Her dress, like that of her daughter, and all the servants 
who have at any time been employed about the family, 
bore witpess to a far more improved taste than the half 
savage adornment of the other poor blacks, and upon my 
observing to her how agreeable her neat and cleanly ap- 
pearance was to me, she replied that her old master (Ma- 
jor ) was extremely particular in this respect, and, 

that in his time all the house servants were obliged to be 
very nice and careful about their persons. 

She named to me all her children, an immense tribe ; 
and, by-the-by, E: — —, it has occurred to me that whereas 
the increase of this ill-fated race is frequently adduced as 
a proof of their good treatment and well being, it really 
and truly is no such thing, and springs from quite other 
causes than the peace and plenty whjch a rapidly increas- 
ing population are supposed to indicate. If you will re- 
flect for a moment upon. the overgrown families of the 
half-starved Irish peasantry and- English manufacturers, 
you wiU agree with me that these prolific shoots by no 
means necessarily spring from a rich or healthy soil. 
Peace and plenty are certainly causes of human increase, 
and so is recklessness ; and this, I take it, is the impulse 
in the instance of the English manufacturer, the Irish peas- 
ant, and the negro slave. Indeed here it is more than 
recklessness, for there are certain indirect premiums held 
out to obey the early commandment of replenishing the 
earth which do not fail to have their full effect. In the 
first place, none of the cares — those noble cares, that holy 
thoughtfuiness which lifts the human above the brute 
parent, are ever incurred here by either father or mother. 


The relation indeed resembles, as far as circumstances can 
possibly make it do so, the short-lived connection between 
the animal and its young. The father, having neither au- 
thority, power, responsibility, or charge in his children, is 
of course, as among brutes, the least attached to his off- 
spring ; the mother, by the natural law which renders the 
infant dependent on her for its first year's nourishment, is 
more so ; but as neither of them is bound to educate or 
to support their children, all the unspeakable tenderness 
and solemnity, all the rational, and all the spiritual grace 
and glory of the connection, is lost, and it becomes mere 
^breeding, bearing, suckling, and there an end. But it is 
not only the absence o'f the conditions which God has af- 
fixed to the relation which tends to encourage the reckless 
increase of the race; they enjoy, by means of numerous 
children, certain positive advantages. ^ In the first place, 
every woman who is pregnant, as soon as she chooses to 
make the fact known to the overseer, is relieved of a cer- 
tain portion of her work in the field, which lightening of 
labor continues, of course, as long as she is so burdened. 
On the birth of a child certain additions of clothing and 
an additional weekly ration are bestowed on the family ; 
and these matters, small as they may seem, act as power- 
ful inducements to creatures who have none of the restrain- 
mg infiuences actuating them which belong to the parent- 
al relation among all other people, whether civilized or 
savage. Moreover, they have all of them a most distinct 
and perfect knowledge of their value to their owners as 
property 5 and a woman thinks, and not much amiss, that 
the more frequently she adds to the number of her mas- 
ter's live-stock by bringing new slaves into the world, the 
more claims she will have upon his consideration and 
good-will. This was perfectly evident to me from the 
meritorious air with which the women always made haste 
to inform me of the number of children they had borne, 


and the frequent occasions on which the older slaves would 
direct my attention to their children, exclaiming, "Look, 
missis ! little niggers for you and massa ; plenty little nig- 
gers for you and little missis !" A very agreeable apos- 
trophe to me indeed, as you will believe. 

I have let this letter lie for a day or two, dear E , 

from press of more immediate avocations. I have noth- 
ing very particular'to add to it. On Monday evening I 

rowed over to Darien with Mr. to fetch over the 

doctor, who was coming to visit some of our people. As 
I sat waiting in the boat for the return of the gentlemen, 
the sun went down, or rather seemed to dissolve bodily • 
into the glowing clouds, which app'eared but a fusion of 
the great orb of light ; the stars twinkled out in the rose- 
colored sky, and the evening air, as it fanned the earth to 
sleep, was as soft as a summer's evening breeze in the 
north. A sort of dreamy stillness seemed creeping over 
the world and into my spirit as the canoe just tilted 
against the steps that led to the wharf, raised by the 
scarce perceptible heaving of the water. A melancholy, 
monotonous boat-horn sounded from a distance up the 
stream, and presently, floating slowly down with the cur- 
rent, huge, shapeless, black, relieved against the sky, came 
one of those rough barges piled with cotton, called, here- 
abouts, Ocone boxes. The vessel itself is really nothing 
but a monstrous square box, made of rough planks, put 
together in the roughest manner possible to attain the' 
necessary object of keeping the cotton dry. Upon this 
great tray are piled the swollen, apoplectic-looking cotton- 
bags, to the height often, twelve, and fourteen feet. This 
.huge water-wagon floats lazily down the river, from the 
upper country to Darien. They are flat-bottomed, and, of 
course, draw little -water. ' The stream from whence they 
are named is an up-country river, which, by its junction 
with the Ocmulgee, forms the Altamaha. Here at least. 


you perceive, the Indian names remain, and long may they 
do so, for they seem to me to become the very character 
of the streams and mountains they indicate, and are in- 
deed significant to the learned in savage tongues, which 
is more than can be said of such titles as Jones's Creek, 
Onion Creek, etc. These Ocone boxes are broken up at 
Darien, where the cotton is shipped either for the Savan- 
nah, Charleston, or Liverpool markets, and the timber of 
which they are constructed sold. 

"We rowed the doctor over to see some of his patients 
on the island, and before his departure a inost animated 
discussion took place upon the subject of the President of 
the United States, his talents, qualifications, opinions — 
above all, his views with regard to the slave system. Mr. 
, who you know is no abolitionist, and is a very de- 
voted Van Buren man, maintained with great warmth the 
President's straightforwardness, and his evident and ex- 
pressed intention of protecting the rights of the South. 
The doctor, on the other hand, quoted a certain speech of 
the President's upon the question of abolishing slavery in 
the District of Columbia, which his fears interpreted into 
a mere evasion of the matter, and an indication that at 
some future period he (Mr. Van Buren) might take a dif- 
ferent view of the subject. I confess, for my own part, 
that if the doctor quoted the speech right, and if the Presi- 
dent is -not an honest man, and if I were a Southern slave- 
holder, I should not feel altogether secure of Mr. Van Bu- 
ren's present opinions or future conduct upon this subject. 
These three ifs, however, are material points of consider- 
ation. Our friend the doctor inclined vehemently to Mr. 
Clay as one on whom the slaveholders could depend. 
Georgia, however, as a state, is perhaps the most demo- 
cratic in the Union ; though here, as well as in other places 
that you and I know of, a certain class, calling themselves 
the first, and honestly believing themselves the best, set 


their faces against the modern fashioned republicTinism, 
professing, and, I have no doubt, with great sincerity, that 
their ideas of democracy are -altogether of a different kind. 
I went again to-day to the Infirmary, and was happy to 
perceive that there really was an evident desire to conform 
to my instructions, and keep the place in a better condi- 
tion than formerly. Among the sick I found a poor wom- 
an suffering dreadfully from the earache. She had done 
■nothing to alleviate her pain but apply some leaves, of 
what tree or plant I could not ascertain, and tie up her 
head in a variety of dirty cloths, was as large as her 
whole body. I rfemoved all these, and found one side of 
her face and neck very much swollen, but so begrimed 
with filth that it was really no very agreeable task to ex- 
amine it. The first process, of course, was washing, which, 
however, appeared to her so very unusual an operation, 
that I had to perform it for her myself. Sweet oil and 
laudanum, and raw cotton, being then applied to her ear 
and neck, she professed herself much relieved, but I lie- 
lieve in my heart that the warm -water sponging had done 
her more good than any thing else. I was sorry not to 
ascertain what leaves she had applied to her ear. These 
simple remedies resorted to by savages, and people as ig- 
norant, are generally approved by experience, and some- 
times condescendingly adopted by science. I remember 

once, when Mr. was suffering from a severe attack of 

inflammatory rheumatism. Dr. C desired him to bind 

round his kUee the leaves of the tulip-tree— poplar I be- 
lieve you call it — saying that he had learned that remedy 
from the negroes in Virginia, and found it a most effectual 
one. My next agreeable office in the Infirmary this morn- 
ing was superintending the washing of two little babies, 
whose mothers were nursing them with quite as much ig- 
norance as zeal. Having ordered a large tub of water, I 
desired Rose to undress the little creatures and give them 


a warm bath ; the mothers looked on in unutterable dis- 
may ; and one of them, just as her child was going to be 
put into the tub, threw into it all the clothes she had just 
taken off it, as she said, to break the unusual shock of the 
warm water. I immediately rescued them ; not but what 
they were quite as much in want of washing as the baby, 
but it appeared, upon inquiry, that the woman had none 
others to dress the child in when it should have taken its 
bath ; they were immediately wrung and hung by the fire 
to dry ; and the poor httle patients, having undergone this 
novel operation, were taken out and given to their moth- 
ers. Any thing, however, much more helpless and ineffi- 
cient than these poor ignorant creatures you can not con- 
ceive ; they actually seemed incapable of drying or dress- 
ing their own babies, and I had to finish their toilet my- 
self. As it is only a very few years since the most absurd 
and disgusting customs have become exploded among 
ourselves, you will not, of course, wonder that these poor 
people pin up the lower part of their infants, bodies, legs, 
and all, in red flannel a^ soon as they are born, arid keep 
them in the self-same envelope till it literally falls off. 

In the next room I found a woman lying on the floor in 
a fit of epilepsy, barking most violently. She seemed to 
excite no particular attention or compassion ; the women 
said she was subject to these fits, and took little or no no- 
tice of her, as she lay barking like some enraged animal 
on the ground. Again I stood in profound ignoi-ance, 
sickening with the sight of suffering which I knew not 
how to alleviate, and which seemed to excite no commis- 
eration merely from the sad fact of its frequent occur- 
rence. Returning to the house, I passed up the " street." 
It was between eleven o'clock and noon, and the people 

were taking their first meal in the day. By-the-by, E , 

how do you think Berkshire county farmers would relish 
laboring hard all day upon two meals of Indian corn or 


hominy ? Such is the regulation on this plantation, how- 
»ever, and I beg you to hear in mind that the negroes on 

Mr. 's estate are generally considered well off. They 

go to the fields at daybreak, carrying with them their al- 
lowance of food for the day, which toward noon, andt not 
till then, they eat, cooking it over a fire, which they kin- 
dle as best they can, where they are working. Their sec- 
ond meal in the day is at night, after their labor is over, 
having worked, at the very least, six hours without inter- 
mission of rest or refreshment since their noonday meal 
(properly so called, for 'tis meal, and nothing else) . Those 
that I passed to-day, sitting on their door-steps,, or on the 
ground round them eating, were the people employed at 
the mill and threshing-floor. As these are near to the 
settlement, they had time to get their food from the cook- 
shop. Chairs, tables, plates, knives, forks, they had none ; 
they sat, as I before said, on the earth or door-steps, and 
ate either out of their little cedar tubs or an iron pot, 
some few with broken iron spoons, more with pieces of 
. wood, and all the children with their fingers. A more 
complete sample of savage feeding I never beheld. At 
one of the doors I saw three young girls standing, who 
might be between sii^een and seventeen years old ; they 
had evidently done eating, and were rudely playing and 
romping with each other, laughing and shouting like wild 
things. I went into the house, and such another specter 
cle of filthy disorder I never beheld. I then addressed* 
the girls most solemnly, showing them that they ivere 
wasting in idle riot the time in which they might be ren- 
dering their abode decent, and told them that it was a 
shame for any woman to live in so dirty a place and so 
beastly a condition. They said they had seen buckree 
(white) women's houses just as dirty, and they could not 
be expected to be cleaner than white women. I then 
told them that the only difference between themselves and 


buckree -women was, that the latter were generally better 
informed, and, for that reason alone, it was more disgrace-, 
fill to them to be disorderly and dirty. They seemed to 
listen to me attentively, and one of them exclaimed, with 
great satisfaction, that they saw I made no difference be- 
tween them and white girls, and that they never had been 
so treated before. I do not know any thing which strikes 
me as a more melancholy illustration of the degradation 
of these people than the animal nature of their recreations 
in their short seasons of respite from labor. You see 
them, boys and giris, from the youngest age to seventeen 
and eighteen, rolling, tumbling, kicking, and wallowing in 
the dust, regardless alike of decency, and incapable of any 
more rational amusement ; or lolling, with half- closed 
eyes, like so many cats and dogs, against a wall, or upon 
a bank in the sun, dozing away their short leisure hour, 
until called to resume their labors in the field or the mill. 
After this description of the meals of our laborers, you 
will, perhaps, be curious to know how it fares with our 
house servants in this respect. Precisely in the same 
manner, as far as regards allowance, with the exception 
of what is left from our table, but, if possible, with even 
less comfort, in one respect, inasmuqjj. as no time whatever 
is set apart for their meals, which they snatch at any hour, 
and in any way that they can — generally, however, stand- 
ing, or squatting on their hams round the kitchen fire. 
They have no sleeping-rooms in the house, but when their 
work is over, retire, like the rest, to their hovels, the dis- 
comfort of which has to them all the addition of compar- 
ison with our mode of living. Now, in all establishments 
whatever, of course some disparity exists between the 
comforts of the drawing-room and best bedrooms, and 
the servants' hall and attics, but here it is no longer a mat- 
ter of degree. The young woman who performs the of- 
fice of lady's-maid, and the lads who wait upon us at ta- 


ble-, have neither table to feed at nor chair to sit down 
upon themselves. The boys sleep at night on the hearth 
by the kitchen fire, and the women upon a rough board 
bedstead, strewed with a little tree moss. All this shows 
how very torpid the sense of justice is apt to lie in the 
breasts of those who have it not awakened by the per- 
emptory demands of others. 

In the North we could not hope to keep the worst and 
poorest servant for a single day in the wretched discom- 
fort in which our negro servants are forced habitually to 
live. I received a visit this morning from some of the 
Darien people. Among them was a most interesting 
young person, from whose acquaintance, if I have any op- 
portunity of cultivating it, I promise myself much pleas- 
ure. The ladies that I have seen since I crossed the 
Southern line have all seemed to me extremely sickly in 
their appearance— delicate in the refined term, but unfor- 
tunately sickly in the truer one. They are languid in 
their deportment and speech, and seem to give themselves 
up, without an effort to counteract it, to the enervating 
effect of their warm climate. It is undoubtedly a most 
relaxing and unhealthy one, and therefore requires the 
more imperatively to be met by energetic and invigor- 
ating habits both of body and mind. Of these, however, 
the Southern ladies appear to have, at present, no very 

positive idea. Doctor told us to-day of a comical 

application which his negro man had made to him for the 
coat he was then wearing. I forget whether the fellow 
wanted the loan, or the absolute gift of it, but his argu- 
ment was (it might have been an Irishman's) that he knew 
his master intended to give it to him by-and-by, and that 
he thought he might as well let' him have it at once as 
keep him waiting any longer for it. This story the doc- 
tor related with great glee, and it furnishes a very good 
sample of what the Southerners are fond of exhibiting. 


the degree of license to which they capriciously permit 
their favorite slaves occasionally to carry their familiarity. 
They seem to consider it as an undeniable proof of the 
general kindness with which their dependents are treated. 
It is as good a proof of it as the maudlin tenderness of a 
fine lady to her lapdog is of her humane treatment of ani- 
mals in general. Servants whose claims to respect are 
properly understood by themselves and their employers, 
are not made, pets, playthings, jesters, or companions of, 
and it is only the degradation of the many that admits of 
this favoritism to the few — a system of favoritism which, 
as it is perfectly consistent with the profoundest contempt 
and injustice, degrades the object of'it quite as much, 
though it oppresses him less, than the cruelty practiced 
upon his fellows. I had several of these favorite slaves 
presented to me, and one or two little negro children, 
who their owners assured me were quite pets. The only 
real service which this arbitrary good-will did to the ob- 
jects of it was quite involuntary and unconscious on the 
part of their kind masters — I mean the inevitable improvje- 
ment in intelligence which resulted to them from being 
more constantly admitted to the intercourse of the favor- 
ed white race. 

I must not forget to tell you of a magnificent bald- 
headed eagle which Mr. called me to look at early 

this morning. I had never before seen alive one of these 
national types of yours, and stood entranced as the noble 
creature swept, like a black cloud, over the river, his bald 
white head bent forward and shining in the sun, and his 
fierce eyes and beak directed toward one of the beautiful 
wild ducks on the water, which he had evidently marked 
for his prey. The poor little duck, who was not ambitious 
of such a glorification, dived, and the eagle hovered above 
the spot, ^fter a short interval, its victim rose to the 
surface several yards nearer shore. The great king of 


birds stooped nearer, and again tbe watery shield was in- 
terposed. This went on until the poor water-fowl, driven 
by excess of fear into unwonted boldness, rose, after re- 
peatedly diving, within a short distance of where we 
stood. The eagle, who, I presume, had read how we were 
to have dominion over the fowls of the air (bald-headed 
eagles included), hovered sulkily a while over the river, 
and then, sailing slowly toward the woods on the opposite 
shore, alighted ^nd furled his great wings on a huge cy- 
press limb, that stretched itself out against the blue sky, 
like the arm of a giant, for the giant bird to perch upon. 

I am amusing myself by attempting to beautify, in some 
sort, this residence*' of ours. Immediately at the back of 
it runs a ditch, about three feet wide, which empties and 
fills twice a day with the tide. This lies like a moat on 
two sides of the house. The opposite bank is a steep 
dike, with a footpath along the top. One or two willows 
droop over this very interesting ditch, and I thought I 
would add to their company some magnolias and myrtles, 
sq as to make a little evergreen plantation round the house. 
I went to the swamp reserves I have before mentioned to 
you, and chose some beautiful bushes — among others, a 
very fine young pine, at which our overseer and all the ne- 
groes expressed much contemptuous surprise; for, though 
the tree is beautiful, it is also Common, and with them, as 
with wiser folk, 'tis " nothing pleases but rare accidents." 
In spite of their disparaging remarks, however, I persisted 
V in having my pine-tree planted, and I assure you it formed 
a very pleasing variety among the broad, smooth-leaved 
evergreens While forming my plantation, I had 
a brand thrown into a bed of tall yellow sedges which 
screen the brimming waters of the noble river from our 
parlor window, and which I therefore wished removed. 
The small sample of a Southern conflagration which en- 
sued was very picturesque, the flames devouring the light 


growth, absolutely licking it off the ground, -while the 
curling smoke drew off in misty wreaths across the river. 
The heat was intense, and I thought how exceedingly and 
unpleasantly warm one must feel in the midst of such a 
forest burning as Cooper describes. Having worked my 
appointed task in the garden, I rowed over to Darien and 
back, the rosy sunset changing mean time to starry even- 
ing, as beautiful as the first. the sky ever was arrayed in. 
I saw an advertisement this morning in the paper which 

occasioned me much thought, Mr. J C and a Mr. 

N , two planters of this neighborhood, have contract- 
ed to dig a canal, called the Brunswick Canal, and, not 
having hands enough for the work, adt^ ertise at the same 
time for negroes on hire and for Irish laborers. Now the 
Irishmen are to have twenty dollars a month wages, and 
to be " found" (to use the technical phrase), which finding 
means abundant food, and the best accommodations which 
can be procured for them. The negroes are hired from 
their masters, who will be paid, of course, as high a price 
as they can obtain for them — ^probably a very high one, as 
the demand for them is urgent — they, in the mean time, 
receiving no wages, and nothing more than the miserable 
negro fare of rice and corn grits. Of course the Irishmen 
and these slaves are not allowed to work together, but are 
kept at separate stations on the canal. This is every way 
politic, for the low Irish seem to have the same sort of 
hatred of negroes which sects, differing but little in their 
tenets, have for each other. The fact is, that a condition 
in their own country nearly similar has made the poor 
Irish almost as degraded a class of beings as the negroes 
are here, and their insolence toward them, and hatred of 
them, are precisely in proportion to the reseipblance be- 
tween them. This hiring out of negroes is a horrid ag- 
gravation of the miseries of their condition ; for if, on the 
plantations, and under the masters to whom they belong, 


their labor is severe and their food inadequate, think what 
it must he when they are hired out for a stipulated sum 
to a temporary employer, who has not even the interest 
which it is pretended an owner may feel in the welfare of 
his slaves, but whose chief aim it must necessarily be to 
get as much out of them, and expend as little on them, as 
possible. Ponder this new form of iniquity, and believe 
me ever your most sirfcerely attached. 

Deaeest E , — After finishing my last letter to you, 

I went out into the clear starlight to breathe the delicious 
mildness of the air, and was surprised to hear rising from 
one of the houses of the settlement a hymn sung appar- 
ently by a number of voices. The next morning I inquired 
the meaning of this, and Was informed that those negroes 
on the plantation who were members of the Church were 
holding a prayer-meeting. There is an immensely strong 
devotional feejing among these poor people. The worst 
of it is, that it is zeal without understanding, and profits 
them but little ; yet light is^light, even that poor portion 
that may stream through a keyhole, and I welcome this 
most ignorant profession of religion in Mr. 's depend- 
ents as the herald of better and brighter things for them, 
Some of the planters are entirely inimical to any such prO' 
ceedings, and neither allow their negroes to attend wor- 
ship, or to congregate together for religious purposes, 
and truly I > think they are wise in their own generation, 
On other plantations, again, the same rigid discipline is 
not observed ; and some plantets and overseers go even 
farther than toleration, and encourage these devotional 
exercises and professions of religion, having actually dis- 
covered that a man may become more faithful and trust- 
worthy, even as a slave, who acknowledges the higher 
influences of Christianity, no matter in how small a de- 


gree. Slaveholding clergymen, and certain piously in- 
clined planters, undertake, accordingly, to enlighten these 
poor creatures upon these matters, with a safe under- 
standing, however, of what truth is to be given to them, 
and what is not ; how m^uch they may learn to become 
better slaves, and how much they may not learn, lest they 
cease to be slaves at all. The process is a very, ticklish 
one, and but for the Northern public opinion, which is 
now pressing the slaveholders close, I dare say would not 
be attempted at all. As it is, they are putting their own 
throats and their own souls in jeopardy by this very en- 
deavor to serve God and Mammon. The light that they 
are letting in between their fingers will presently strike 
them blind, and the mighty flood of truth which they are 
straining through a sieve to the thirsty lips of their slaves 
sweep them away like straws from their cautious moor- 
ings, and overwhelm them in its great deeps, to the wa- 
ters of which man may in nowise say, thus far shall ye 
come and no farther. The community I now speak of, 
the white population of Darien, should be a religious one, 
to judge by the number of churches it maintains. How- 
ever, we know the old proverb, and, at that rate, it may 

not be so godly after all. Mr. and his brother have 

been called upon at various times to subscribe to them 
all; and I saw this morning a most fervent appeal, ex- 
tremely ill spelled, from a gentleman living in the neigh- 
borhood of the town, and whose slaves are notoriously 

ill treated, reminding Mr. of the precious souls of his 

human cattle, and requesting a farther donation for the 
Baptist Church, of which most of the people here are 
members. Now this man is known to be a hard master ; 
his negro houses are sheds not fit to stable beasts in ; his 
slaves are ragged, half naked, and miserable ; yet he is 
urgent for their religious comforts, and writes to Mr. 
about " their souls — their precious souls." He was 


over here a few days ago, and pressed me very mucli to 
attend his church. I told him I would not go to a 
church where the people who worked for us were parted 
off from us as if they had the pest, and we should catch 
it of them. I asked him, for I was curious to know, how 
they managed to administer the sacrament to a mixed 
congregation? He replied, Oh, very easily; that the 
white portion of the assembly received it first, and the 
blacks afterward. "A new commandment I give unto 
you, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you." 
Oh, what a shocking mockery ! • However, they show 
their faith, at all events, in the declaration that God is no 
respecter of persons, since they do not pretend to exclude 
from His table those whom they most certainly would 
not admit to their own. 
I have, as usual, allowed this letter to lie by, dear 

E , not in the" hope of the occurrence of any event — 

for that is hopeless— but until my daily avocations al- 
lowed me leisure to resume it, and afforded me, at the 
same time, matter wherewith to do so. I really never 
was so busy in all my life as I am here. I sit at the re- 
ceipt of custom (involuntarily enough) from morning till 
night — ^no time, no place, affords me a respite from my 
innumerable petitioners; and whether I be asleep or 
awake, reading, eating, or walking — ^in the kitchen, my 
bedroom, or the parlor, they flock in with urgent entrea- 
ties and pitiful stories, and my conscience forbids my ever 
.postponing their business for any other matter ; for, with 
shame and grief of heart I say it, by their unpaid labor I 
live-rtheir nakedness clothes me, and their heavy toil 
maintains me in luxurious idleness. Surely the least I 
can do is to hear these, my most injured benefactors ; and, 
indeed, so intense in me is the sense of the injury they 
receive from me and mine, that I should scarce dare re- 
fuse them the very clothes from my back, or food from 



my plate, if they asked me for it. In taking my daily 
walk round the banks yesterday, I found that I was walk- 
ing over violet roots. The season is too little advanced 
for them to he in bloom, and I could not find out whether 
they were the fragrant violet or not. 

Mr. has been much gratified to-day by the arrival 

of Mr. K , who, with his father, for nineteen years was 

the sole manager of these estates, and discharged his la- 
borious task with great ability and fidelity toward his em- 
ployers. How far he understood his duties to the slaves, 
or whether, indeed, an overseer can, in the nature of things, 
acknowledge any duty to them, is another question. He 
is a remarkable man, and is much respected for his integ- 
rity and honorable dealing by every body here. His ac- 
tivity and energy are wonderful; and the mere fact of his 
having charge of for nineteen years, and personally gov- 
erning, without any assistance whatever, seven hundred 
people scattered over three large tracts of land, at a con- 
siderable distance from each other, certainly bespeaks ef- 
ficiency and energy of a very uncommon order. The char- 
acter I had heard of him from Mr. had excited a great 

deal of interest in me, and I was very glad of this oppor- 
tunity of seeing a man who for so many years had been 
sovereign over the poor people here. I met him walking 

on the banks with Mr. as I returned from my own 

ramble, during which nothing occurred or appeared to 
interest me, except, by-the-by, my unexpectedly coming 
quite close to one of those magnificent scarlet birds which 
abound here, and which dart across your path like a wing- 
ed flame. Nothing can surpass the beauty of their plum- 
age, and their voice is excellently melodious — they are 

My companions, when I do not request the attendance 
of my friend Jack, are a couple of little terriers, who are 
endowed to perfection with the ugliness and the intelli- 


gence of their race ; they are of infinite service on the 
plantation, as, owing to the immense quantity of grain, 
and chaflf, and such matters, rats and mice ahonnd in the 
mills and' store-houses. I crossed the, threshing-floor to- 
day — a very large square, perfectly level, raised by arti- 
ficial means about half a foot from the ground, and cover- 
ed equally all over, so as to lie^ quite smooth, with, some 
preparation of tar. It lies immediately between the house 
and the steam mill, and on it much of the negroes' work 
is done — ^the first threshing is given to the rice, and other 
labors are carried on. As I walked across it to-day, pass- 
ing through' the busy groups, chiefly of women, that cov- 
ered it, I came opposite to one of the drivers, who held in 
his hand his whip, the odious insignia of his office. I took 
it from him ; it was a short stick of moderate size, with a 
thick square leather thong attached to it. As I held it in 
my hand, I did not utter a word ; but I conclude, as is oft- 
en the case, my face spoke what my tongue did not, for 
the driver said, " Oh, missis, me use it for measure ; me 
seldom strike nigger with it." For one moment I thought 
I must carry the hateful implement into the house with 
me. An instant's reflection, however, served to show me 
how useless such a proceeding would be. The people are 
not mine, nor their drivers, nor their whips. I should but 
have impeded, for a few hours,' the man's customary office, 
and a new. scourge would have .been .easily provided; arid 
I should have done nothing, perhaps worse than noth- 
After dinner I had a most interesting conversation with 

Mr. K , Among other subjects, he gave me a lively 

and curious description of the .Yeomanry of Georgia, more 
properly termed pine-landers. Have you visions now of 
well-to-do farmers with comfortable homesteads, decent 
habits, industrious, intelligent, cheerfulj and thrifty ? Such, 
however, is not the Yeomanry of Georgia. Labor being 


here the especial portion of slaves, it is thenceforth de- 
graded, and considered unworthy of all but slaves. No 
■white man, therefore, of any class puts hand to work of 
any kind soever. This is an exceedingly dignified way of 
proving their gentility for the lazy planters who prefer an 
idle life of semistarvation and barbarism to the degrada- 
tion of doing any thing theniselves ; but the effect on the 
poorer whites of the country is terrible. I speak now of 
the scattered white population, who, too poor to possess 
land or slaves, and having no means of hving in the towns, 
squat (most appropriately is it so termed) either on other 
men's land or government districts — always here swamp 
or pine barren — and claim masterdom over the place they 
invade tiU ejected by the rightful proprietors. These 
wretched creatures will not, for they are whites (and la- 
bor belongs to blacks and slaves alone here), labor for 
their own subsistence. They are hardly protected from 
the weather by the rude shelters they frame for them- 
selves in the midst of these dreary woods. Their food is 
chiefly supplied by shooting the wild -fowl and venison,' 
and stealing from the cultivated patches of the plantations 
nearest at hand. Their clothes hang about them in filthy 
tatters, and the combined squalor and fierceness of their 
appearance is really frightful. 

This population is the direct growth of slavery. The 
planters are loud in their execrations of these miserable 
vagabonds ; yet they do not see that so long as labor is 
considered the disgraceful portion of slaves, these free 
men will hold it nobler to starve or steal than till the 
earth, with none but the despised blacks for fellow-labor- 
ers. The blacks themselves — such is the infinite power 
of custom — acquiesce in this notion, and, as I have told 
you, consider it the lowest degradation in. a white to use 
any exertion. I wonder, considering the burdens they 
have seen me lift, the digging, the planting, the rowing, 


and the -walking I do, that they do not utterly contemn 
me, and, indeed, they seem lost in amazement at it. 

Talking of .these pine-landers — gipsies, without any of 
the romantic associations that belong to the latter people 
— ^led us to the origin of such a population, slavery ; and 
you may be sure I listened with infinite interest to the 
opinions of a man of uncommon shrewdness and sagacity, 
who was born in the very bosom of it, and has passed his 
whole life among slaves. If any one is competent to judge 
of its effects, such a man is the one ; and this was his ver- 
dict : " I hate slavery with all my heart ; I consider it an 
absolute curse wherever it exists. It will keep those states 
where it does exist fifty years behind the others in iin- 
provement and prosperity." Farther on in the conversa- 
tion he made this most remarkable observation : "As for 
its being an irremediable evil — a thing not to be helped 
or got rid of— that's all nonsense ; for, as soon as people 
become convinced that it is their interest to get rid of it, 
they will soon find the means to do so, depend upon it." 
And undoubtedly this is true. This is not an age, nor 
yours a country, where a large mass of people will long 
endure what they perceive to be injurious to their for- 
tunes and advancement. Blind as people often are to 
their highest and truest interests, your country folk have 
generally shown remarkable acuteness in finding out where 
their worldly progress sufiered let or hinderance, and have 
removed it with laudable alacrity. Now the fact is not 
at all as we at the North are sometimes told, that the 
Southern slaveholders deprecate the evils of slavery quite 
as much as we do; that they see all its miseries; that, 
moreover, they are most anxious to get rid of the whole 
thing, but want the means to do so, and submit most un- 
willingly to a necessity from which they can not extricate 
themselves. All this I thought might be true before I 
went to the South, and often has the charitable supposi- 


tion checked the condemnation which was indignantly 
rising to my lips against these murderers of their breth- 
ren's peace. A little reflection, however, even without 
personal observation, might have convinced me that this 
could not be the case. If the majority of Southerners 
were satisfied that slavery was contrary to their worldly 
fortunes, slavery would be at an end from that very mo- 
ment ; but the fact is — and I have it not only from obser- 
vation of my own, but from the distinct statement of some 
of the most intelligent Southern men that I have conversed 
with — the only obstacle to immediate abolition through- 
out the South is the immense value of the human property, 
and, to use the words of a very distinguished Carolinian, 
who thus ended a long discussion we had on the subject, 
" I'll tell you why abolition is impossible : because every 
healthy negro can fetch a thousand dollars in the Charles- 
ton market at this moment." And this opinion, you see, 

tallies perfectly with the testimony of Mr. K . 

He went on to speak of several of the slaves on this es- 
tate as persons .quite remarkable for their fidelity and in- 
telligence, instancing old Molly, Ned the engineer, who 
has the superintendence of the steam-engine in the rice 
miU, and head man Frank, of whom, indeed, he wound up 
the eulogium by saying he had quite the principles of a 
white man, which I thought most equivocal praise, but he 
did not intend it as such. As I was complaining to Mr. 

of the terribly neglected condition of the dikes, which 

are in some parts so overgrown with gigantic briers that 
'tis really impossible to walk over them, and the trench 
on one hand, and river on the other, afibrd one extremely 
disagreeable alternatives, Mr. K— — cautioned me to be 
particularly on«my guard not to step on the thorns of the 
orange-tree. These, indeed, are formidable spikes, and, 
he assured me, were peculiarly poisonous to the flesh. 
Some of the most painful and tedious wounds he had ever 


seen, he said, ■were incurred by the negroes running these 
large green thorns into their feet. 

This led him to speak of the glory and beauty of the 
orange-trees on the island before a cei'tain uncommonly 
severe winter, a few years ago, destroyed them all. For 
five miles round the banks grew a double row of noble 
orange-trees, as large as our orchard apple-trees, covered 
with golden fruit and silver flowers. It must have been 
a most magnificent spectacle, and Captain F^ — , tod, told 
me, in speaking of it, that he had brought Basil Hall here 
in the season of the trees blossoming, and he had said it 
was as well worth crossing the Atlantic to see that as to 
see the Niagara. Of all these noble trees nothing now 
remains but the roots, which bear witness to their size, 
and some young sprouts shooting up, afibrding some hope 
that, in the course of years, the island may wear its bridal 
garland again. One huge stump close to the door is all 
that remains of an enormous tree that overtopped the 
house, from the upper windows of which oranges have 
been gathered from off its branches, and whichj one year, 

bore the incredible number of 8542 oranges. Mr. K 

assured me of this as a positive fact, of which he had at 
the time made the entry in his journal, considering such a 
crop from a single tree well worthy of record. Mr. — — 
was called out this evening to listen to a complaint of 
overwork from a gang of pregnant women. I did not 
stay to listen to the details of their petition, for I am un- 
able to command myself on such occasions, and Mr. 

seemed positively degraded in my eyes as he stood enforc- 
ing upon these women the necessity of their fulfilling their 
appointed tasks. How honorable he would have appeared 
to me begrimed with the sweat and soil of the coarsest 
manual labor, to what he then seemed, setting forth to 
these wretched, ignorant women, as a duty, their unpaid 
exacted labor ! I turned away in bitter disgust. I hope 


this sojourn among Mr. 's slaves may not lessen my 

respect for him, hut I fear it ; for the details of slavehold- 
ing are so unmanly, letting alone every other considera- 
tion, that I know not how any one with the spirit of a 
man can condescend to them. 

I have been out again on the river, rowing. I find noth- 
ing new. Swamps crowned with perfect evergreens are 
the only land (that's Irish !) about here, and, of course, 
turn which way I will, the natural features of river and 
shore are the same. I do not weary of these most exqui- 
site watery woods, but you will of my mention of them, I 
fear. Adieu. 

Deaebst E , — Since I last wrote to you I have 

been actually engaged in receiving and returning visits ; 
for even to this ultima thule of all civiliza.tion do these 
polite usages extend. I have been called upon by several 
families residing in and about Darien, and rowed over in 
due form to acknowledge the honor. How shall I de- 
scribe Darien to you ? The abomination of desolation is 
but a poor type of its forlorn appearance, as, half buried 
in sand, its straggling, tumble-down wooden houses peer 
over the muddy bank of the thick slimy river. The whole 
town lies in a bed of sand : side-walks, or mid-walks, there 
be none distinct from each other; at every step I took my 
feet were ankle deep in the soil, and I had cause to rejoice 
that I was booted for the occasion. Our worthy doctor, 
whose lady I was going to visit, did nothing but regret 
that I had not allowed him to provide me a carriage, 
though the distance between his house and the landing is 
not a quarter of a mile. The magnitude of the exertion 
seemed to fill him with amazement, and he over and over 
again repeated how impossible it would be to prevail on 
any of the ladies there to take such a walk. The houses 


seemed scattered about here and there, apparently without 
any design, and looked, for the most part, either unfinished 
or ruinous. One feature of the scene alone recalled the 
villages of New England — the magnificent oaks, which 
seemed to add to the meanness and insignificance of the 
human dwellings they overshadowed by their enormous 
size and grotesque fornjs. They reminded me of the elms 
of New Haven and Stockbridge. They are quite as large, 
and more picturesque, from their sombre foliage and the 
infinite variety of their forms — a beauty wanting in the 
New England elm, which invariably rises and spreads in 
a way which, though the most gi-aceful in the world, at 
length palls on the capricious human eye, which seeks, 
above all other beauties, variety. Our doctor's wife is a 
New England woman ; how can she live here ? She had 
the fair eyes and hair, and fresh complexion of your part 
of the country,- and its dearly beloved snuffle, which seemed 
actually dearly beloved when I heard it down here. She 
gave me some violets and narcissus, already blossoming 
profusely — ^in January — and expressed, like her husband, 
a thousand regrets at my having walked so far. 

A transaction of the most amusing nature occurred to- 
day with regard to the resources of the Darien Bank, and 
the mode of carrying on business in that liberal and en- 
lightened institution, the funds of which I should think 
quite incalculable — impalpable, certainly, they appeared 
by our experience this morning. 

The river, as we came home, was covered with Ocone 
boxes. It is well for them they are so shallow-bottomed, 
for we rasped sand all the way home through the cut and 
in the shallows of the river. 

I have been over the rice mill, under the guidance of 
the overseer and head man Prank, and have been made 
acquainted with the whole process of threshing the rice, 
which is extremely curious ; and here I may agam men- 



tion another statement of Miss Martineau's, which I am 
told is, and I should suppose, from what I see here, must 
he a mistake. She states that the chaff of the husks of 
the rice is used as a manure for the fields, whereas the 
people have to-day assured me that it is of so hard, stony, 
and untractable a nature as to be literally good for noth- 
ing. Here I know it is thrown away by cart-loads into 
the riyer, where its only use appears to be to act like 
ground-bait, and attract a vast quantity of small fish to its 
vicinity. The number of hands employed in this thresh- 
ing mill is very considerable, and the whole establishment, 
comprising the fires, and boilers, and machinery of a pow- 
erful steam-engine, are all under negro superintendence 
and direction. After this survey I occupied myself with 
my infant plantation of evergreens' round the dike, in the 
midst of which interesting pursuit I was interrupted by a 

visit from Mr. B , a neighboring planter, who came to 

transact some business with Mr. about rice which he 

had sent to our mill to have threshed, and the price to be 
paid for such threshing. The negroes have presented a 
petition to-day that they maybe allowed to have a ball in 
honor of our arrival, which demand has been acceded to, 
and furious preparations are being set on foot. 

On visiting the Infirmary to-day, I was extremely 
pleased with the increased cleanliness and order observa- 
ble in all the rooms. Two little filthy children, however, 
seemed to be still under the ancien regime of non-ablu- 
tion ; but upon my saying to the old nurse Molly, in whose 
ward they were, " Why, Molly, I don't believe you have 
bathed those children to-day," she answered, with infinite 
dignity, " Missis no b'lieve me wash um pickaninny ! and 
yet she 'tress me wid all um niggar when 'em sick." The 
injured innocence and lofty conscious integrity of this 
speech silenced and abashed me ; and yet I can't help it, 
but I don't believe to this present hour that those chil- 


di'en had had any experience of water, at least not wash- 
ing water, since they first came into the world. 

I rowed over to Darien again, to make some purchases, 
yesterday, and, inquiring the price of various articles, 
could not hut wonder to find them at least three times as 
dear as in your Northern villages. The profits of these 
Southern shopkeepers (who for the most part are thoi'- 
oughbred Yankees, with the true Yankee propensity to 
trade, no matter on how dirty a counter, or in what man- 
ner of wares) are enormous. The prices they ask for ev- 
ery thing, from colored calicoes for negro dresses to pi- 
ano-fortes (one of which, for curiosity sake, I inquired the 
value of), are fabulous, and such as none but the laziest 
and most reckless people in the world would consent to 
afibrd. On our return we found the water in the cut so 
extremely low that we were obliged to push the boat 
through it, and did not accomplish it without difficulty. 
The banks of this canal, when they are thus laid bare, pre- 
sent a singular appearance enough — two walls of solid 
mud, through which matted, twisted, twined, and tangled, 
like the natural veins of wood, runs an everlasting net of 
indestructible roots, the thousand toes of huge cypress 
feet. The trees have been cut down long ago from the 
soil, but these fangs remain in the earth without decaying 
for an incredible space of time. This long endurance of 
immersion is one of the valuable properties of these cy- 
press roots; but, though excellent binding stuff for the 
sides of a canal, they must be pernicious growth in any 
lajid used for cultivation that requires deep tillage. On 
entering the Altamaha, we found the tide so low that we 
were much obstructed by the sand-banks, which, but for 
their constant shifting, would presently take entire pos- 
session of this noble stream, and render it utterly impass- 
able from shore to shore, as it already is in several parts 
of the channel at certain seasons of the tide. On landing. 


I was seized hold of by a hideous old negress, named Sin- 
da, who had come to pay me a visit, and of whom Mr, 

told me a strange anecdote. She passed at one time 

for a prophetess among her fellow-slaves on the planta- 
tion, and had acquired such an ascendency over them that, 
having given out, after the fashion of Mr. Miller, that the 
world was to come to an end at a certain time, and that 
not a very remote one, the belief in her assertion took 
such possession of the people on the estate that they re- 
fused to work, and the rice and cotton fields were threat- 
ened with an indefinite fallow in consequence of this strike 

on the part of the cultivators. * Mr. K , who was then 

overseer of the property, perceived the impossibility of ar- 
guing, remonstrating, or even flogging this solemn panic 
out of the minds of the slaves. The great final emancipa- 
tion which they believed at hand had stripped even the 
lash of its prevailing authority, and the terrors of an over- 
seer for once were as nothing, in the terrible expectation 
of the advent of the universal Judge of men. They were 
utterly impracticable ; so, like a very shrewd man as he 
was, he acquiesced in their determination not to work ; 
but he expressed to them his belief that Sinda was mis- 
taken, and he warned her that if, at the appointed time, it 
proved so, she would be severely punished. I do not 
know whether he confided to the slaves what he thought 
likely to be the result if she was in the right ; but poor 
Sinda was in the wrong. Her day of judgment came in- 
deed, and a severe one it proved, for Mr. K had her 

tremendously flogged, and her end of things ended much 
like Mr. Miller's ; but whereas he escaped unhanged in 
spite of his atrocious practices upon the fanaticism and 
credulity of his country people, the spirit of false proph- 
ecy was mercilessly scourged out of her, and the faith of 
her people of course reverted from her to the omnipotent 
lash again. Think what a dream that must have been 


while it lasted for those infinitely oppressed people — ^free- 
dom without entering it by the grim gate of death, 
brought down to them at once by the second coming of 
Christ, whose first advent has left them yet so far from it ! 
Farewell; it makes me giddy to think of. having been a 
slave while that delusion lasted and after it vanished. ■ 

Dearest E , — I received early this morning a visit 

from a young negro called Morris, who came to request 
permission to be. baptized. The master's leave is neces- 
sary for this ceremony of acceptance into the bosom of 
the Christian. Church; so all that can be said is, that it is 
to be hoped the rite itself may not be indispensable for 
salvation, as, if Mr. — — had thought proper to refuse 
Morris's petition, he must infallibly have been lost,"in spite 
of his own best wishes to the contrary. I could not, in 
discoursing with him, perceive that he had any very dis- 
tinct ideas of the advantages he expected to derive from 
the ceremony ; but perhaps they appeared all the greater 
for being a little vague. I have seldom seen a more 
pleasing appearance than that of this young man ; his fig- 
ure was tall and straight, and his face, which was of a per- 
fect oval, rejoiced in the grace, very unusual among his 
people, of a fine high forehead, and the much more fre- 
quent one of a remarkably gentle and sweet expression. 
He was, however, jet black, iand certainly did not owe 
these personal advantages to any mixture in his blood. 
There is a certain African tribe from which the West In- 
dian slave -market is chiefly recruited, who have these 
same characteristic features, and do not at all present the 
ignoble and ugly negro type, so much more commonly 
seen here. They are a tall, powerful people, with remark- 
ably fine figures, regular features, and a singularly warlike 
and fierce disposition, in which respect they also diifer 


from the race of negroes existing on the American planta- 
tions. I do not think Morris, however, could have he- 
longed to this tribe, though perhaps Othello did, which 
would at once settle the difficulties of those commentators 
who, abiding by lago's very disagreeable suggestions as 
to his purely African appearance, are painfully compelled 
to forego the mitigation of supposing him a Moor and 
not a negro. Did I ever tell you of my dining in Boston, 

at the H 's, on my first visit to that city, and sitting 

by Mr. John Quincy Adams, who, talking to me about 
Desdemona, assured me, with a most serious expression 
of sincere disgust, that he considered all her misfortunes 
as a very just judgment upon her for having married a 
" nigger ?" I think, if some ingenious American actor of 
the present day, bent upon realizing Shakspeare's finest 
conceptions, with all the advantages of modern enlighten- 
ment, could contrive to slip in that opprobrious title, with 
a true South Carolinian anti-Abolitionist expression, it 
might really be made quite a point for lago, as, for in- 
stance, in his first soliloquy — " I hate the nigger," given 
in proper Charleston or Savannah fashion, I am sure would 

tell far better than " I hate the Moor." Only think, E :, 

what a very new order of interest the whole tragedy 
might receive, acted, throughout from this stand-point, as 
the Germans call it in this country, and called " Amalga- 
mation, or the Black Bridal." 

On their return from their walk this afternoon the chil- 
dren brought home some pieces of sugar-cane, of which a 
small quantity grows on the island. When I am most 
inclined to deplore the condition of the poor slaves on 
these cotton and rice plantations, the far more intolei-able 
existence and harder labor of those employed on the sug- 
ar estates occurs to me, sometimes producing the efiect 
of a lower circle in Dante's " Hell of Horrors," opening 
beneath the one where he seems to have reached the 


climax of infernal punishment. You may have seen this 
vegetable, and must at any rate, I should think, be fa- 
miliar with it by description. It is a long green reed, 
like the stalk of the maize, or Indian corn, only it shoots 
up to a much more considerable height, and has a consis- 
tent pith, which, together with the rind itself, is extremely 
sweet. The principal peculiarity of this growth, as per- 
haps you know, is that they are laid horizontally in the 
earth when they are planted for propagation, and from 
each of the notches or joints of the recumbent cane a 
young shoot is produced at the germinating season. 

A very curious and interesting circumstance to me just 
now in the neighborhood is the projection of a canal, to 
be called the Brunswick Canal, which, by cutting through 
the lower part of the main land, toward the southern ex- 
tremity of Great St. Simon's Island, is contemplated as a 
probable and powerful means of improving the prosper- 
ity of the town of Brunswick, by bringing it into imme- 
diate communication with the Atlantic. The scheme, 
which I think I have mentioned to you before, is, I be- 
lieve, chiefly patronized by your States' folk — Yankee 
enterprise and funds being very essential elements, it ap- 
pears to me, in all Southern projects and achievements. 
This speculation, however, from all I hear of the difficul- 
ties of the undertaking, from the nature of the soil, and 
the impossibility almost of obtaining efficient labor, is not 
very likely to arrive at any very satisfactory result ; and, 
indeed, I find it hard to conceive how this part of Georgia 
can possibly produce a town which can be worth the dig- 
ging of a canal, even to Yankee speculators. There is 
one feature of the undertaking, however, which more than 
all the others excites my admiration, namely, that Irish 
laborers have been advertised for to work upon the canal, 
and the terms offered them are twenty dollars a month 
j)er man and their board. Now these men will have for 


fellow-laborers negroes who not only will receive nothing 
at all for their work, but who will be hired by the con- 
tractors and directors of the works from their masters, to 
whom they will hand over the price of their slaves' labor ; 
while it wUl be the interest of the person hiring them not 
only to get as much work as possible out of them, but 
also to provide them as economically with food, combin- 
ing the two praiseworthy endeavors exactly in such judi- 
cious proportions as not to let them neutralize each other. 
You will observe that this case of a master hiring out his 
slaves to another employer, from whom he receives their 
rightful wages, is a form of slavery which, though ex- 
tremely common, is very seldom adverted to in those ar- 
guments for the system which are chiefly founded upon 
the master's presumed regard for his human property. 
People who have ever let a favorite house to the tempo- 
rary occupation of strangers can form a tolerable idea of 
the difference between one's own regard and bare of one's 
goods and chattels and that of the most conscientious 
tenant ; and whereas I have not yet observed that own- 
ership is a very effectual protection to the slaves against 
ill usage and neglect, I am quite prepared to admit that 
it is a vastly better one than the temporary interest 
which a lessee can feel in the live-stock he hires, out of 
whom it is his manifest interest to get as much, and into 
whom to put as little, as possible. Tet thousands of 
slaves throughout the Southern states are thus handed 
over by the masters who own them to masters who do 
not ; and it does not require much demonstration to prove 
that their estate is not always the more gracious. Now 
you must not suppose that these same Irish free laborers 
and negro slaves will be permitted to work together at 
this Brunswick Canal. They say that this wcmld be ut- 
terly impossible ; for why ? there would be tumults, and 
risings, and broken heads, and bloody bones, and all the^ 


natural results of Ii-ish intercoinmunion with their fellow- 
creatures, no doubt — perhaps even a little more riot and 
violence than merely comports with their usual habits of 
Milesian good fellowship ; for, say the masters, the Irish 
hate the negroes more even than the Americans do, and 
there would be no bound to their murderous animosity if 
they were brought in contact with them on the same por- 
tion of the worlis of the Brunswick Canal. Doubtless 
there is some truth in this ; the Irish laborers who might 
come hithfer would be apt enough, according to a univer- 
sal moral law, to visit upon others the injuries they had 
received from others. They have been oppressed enough 
themselves to be oppressive whenever they have a chance; 
and the despised and degraded condition of the blacks, 
presenting to them a very ugly resemblance of their own 
home, circumstances naturally excite in them the exer- 
cise of the disgust and contempt of which they them- 
selves are very habitually the objects; and that such cir- 
cular distribution of wrongs may not only be pleasant, 
but have something like the air of retributive right to 
very ignorarit folks, is not much to be wondered at. 
Certain is the fact, however, that the worst of all tyrants 
is the one who has been a slave ; and, for that matter 
(and I wonder if the Southern slaveholders hear it with 
the same ear that I do, and ponder it with the same 
mind ?), the command of one slave to another is alto- 
gether -the most uncompromising utterance of insolent 
truculent despotism that it ever fell to iny lot to witness 
or listen to. " Yoi» nigger — I say, you black nigger — 
you no hear me call you — what for you no run quick ?" 

All this, dear E , is certainly reasonably in favor of 

division of labor on the Brunswick Canal; but the Irish 
are not only quarrelers, and rioters, and fighters, and 
drinkers, and despisers of niggers — they are a passionate, 
impulsive, warm-hearted, generous people, much given to 

90 JOUENAL 01" 

powerful indignations, whicli break out suddenly when 
not compelled to smoulder sullenly — pestilent sympa- 
thizers too, and with a sufficient dose of American atmos- 
pheric air in their lungs, properly mixed with a right pro- 
portion of ardent spirits, there is no saying but what they 
might actually take to sympathy with the slaves, and I 
leave you to judge of the possible consequences. Tou 
perceive, I am sure, that they can by no means be allowed 
to work together on the Brunswick Canal. 

Uiave been taking my daHy walk round the island, and 
visited the sugar mill and the threshing mill again. 

Mr. has received another letter from Parson S 

upon the subject of more church building in Darien. It 
seems that there has been a very general panic in this part 
of the slave states lately, occasioned by some injudicious 
missionary preaching, which was pronounced to be of a 
decidedly abolitionist tendency. The offensive preachers, 
after sowing God only knows what seed in this tremen- 
dous soil, where one grain of knowledge may spring up a 
gigantic upas-tree to the prosperity of its most unfortu- 
nate possessors, were summa;rily and ignominiously ex- 
pulsed ; and now some shortsighted, uncomfortable Chris- 
tians in these parts, among others this said Parson S , 

are possessed with the notion that something had better 
be done to supply the want created by the cessation of 
these dangerous exhortations, to which the negroes have 

listened, it seems, with complacency. Parson S seems 

to think that, having driven out two preachers, it might 
be well to build one church, where, at Jlftiy rate, the negroes 
might be exhorted in a safe and salutary manner, "qui ne 
leur donnerait point d'id^es," as the French would say. 

Upon my word, E , I used to pity the slaves, and I do 

pity them with all my soul ; but, oh dear ! oh dear ! their 
case is a bed of roses to that of their owners, and I would 
go to the slave-block in Charleston to-morrow cheerfully 


to be purchased if my only option was to go thithei' as a 
purchaser. I was looking over this morning, with a most 
indescribable mixture of feelings, a pamphlet ptiblished in 
the South upon the subject of the religious instruction of 
the slaves, and the difficulty of the task undertaken by 
these reconcilers of God and Mammon really seems to me 
nothing short of piteous. " We must give our involun- 
tary servants" (they* seldom call them slaves, for it is an 
ugly word in an American mouth, you know) " Christian 
enlightenment," say they ; and where shall they begin ? 
" Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do 
ye also unto them ?" No ; but "^Servants, obey youj*mas- 
ters ;" and there, I think, they naturally come to a full 
stop. This pamphlet forcibly suggested to me the neces- 
sity for a slave Church Catechism, and also, indeed, if it 
were possible, a slave Bible. If these heaven-blinded ne- 
gro enlighteners persist in their pernicious plan of making 
Christians of their cattle, something of the sort must be 
done, or they will infallibly cut their own throats with this 
two-edged sword of truth, to which they should in no wise 
have laid their hand, and would not, doubtless, but that it 
is now thrust at them so threateningly that they have no 
choice. Again and again, how much I do pity them ! 

I have been walking to another cluster of negro huts, 
known as Number Two, and here we took a boat and 
rowed across the broad brimming Altamaha to a place 
called Woodville, on a part of the estate named Hammer- 
smith, though why that very thriving suburb of the great 
city of London should have been selected as the name of 
the lonely plank house in the midst of the pine woods 
which here enjoys that title I can not conceive, unless it 
was suggested by the contrast. This settlement is on the 
main land, and consists apparently merely of this house 
(to which the overseer retires when the poisonous mala- 
ria of the rice plantations compels him to withdraw from 


it), and a few deplorably miserable hovels, which appeared 
to me to be chiefly occupied by the most decrepid and in- 
firm samples of humanity it was ever my melancholy lot 
to behold. 

The air of this pine barren is salubrious compared with 
that of the rice islaads, and here some of the oldest slaves 
who will not die yet, and can not work any more, are sent, 
to go, as it were, out of the way. Remote recollections 
of former dealings with civilized human beings in the 
shape of masters and overseers seemed to me to be the 
only idea not purely idiotic in the minds of the poor old 
tottering creatures that gathered to stare with dim and 
blear eyes at me and my children. 

There were two very aged women, who had seen differ- 
ent, and, to 'their faded recollections, better times, who 

spoke to me of Mr. 's grandfather, and of the early 

days of the plantation, when they were young and strong, 
and worked as their children and grandchildren were now 
working, neither for love nor yet for money. One of these 
old crones, a hideous, withered, wrinkled piece of woman- 
hood, said that she had worked as long as her strength 
had lasted, and that then she had stUl been worth her 
keep, for, said she, " Missus, tho' we no able to work, we 
make little niggers for massa." Her joy at seeing her 
present owner was unbounded, and she kept clapping her 
horny hands together and exclaiming, " While there is life 
there is hope ; we seen massa before we die." These de- 
monstrations of regard were followed up by piteous com- 
plaints of hunger and rheumatism, and their usual requests 
for pittances of food and clothing, to which we responded 
by promises of additions in both kinds ; and I was extri- 
cating myself as well' as I could from my petitioners, with 
the assurance that I would come by-and-by and visit them 
again, when I felt my dress suddenly feebly jerked, and a 
shrill cracked voice on the other side of me exclaimed, 


" Missus, no go yet — ^no go away yet ; you no see me, 
missus, when you come by-and-by ; but," added the voice, 
in a sort of wail, which seemed to me as if the thought 
was full of misery, " you see many, many of my offspring." 
These melancholy words, particularly the rather unusual 
one at the end of the address, struck me very much. They 
were uttered by a creature which was a woman, but looked 
like a crooked, ill-built figure set up in a field to scare 
crows, with a face infinitely more like a mere animal's 
than any human countenance I ever beheld, and with that 
peculiar, wUd, restless look of indefinite and, at the same 
time, intense sadness that is so remarkable in the counte- 
nance of some monkeys. It was almost -with an effort 
that I commanded myself so as not to withdraw my dress 
from the yellow, crumpled, filthy claws that griped it, and 
it was not at last without the authoritative voice of the 
overseer that the poor creature released her hold of me. 

We returned home certainly in the very strangest vehi- 
cle that ever civilized gentlewoman traveled in — a huge 
sort of cart, made only of some loose boards, on which I 
lay, supporting myself against one of the four posts which 
indicated the sides of my carriage ; six horned creatures, 
cows or bulls, drew this singular equipage, and a yelping, 
howling, screaming, leaping company of half-naked negroes 
ran all round them, goading them with shaqj sticks, fran- 
tically seizing hold of their tails, and inciting them by 
every conceivable and inconceivable encouragement to 
quick motion : thus, like one of the ancient Merovingian 
monarchsjl was dragged through the deep sand from the 
settlement back to the river, where we re-embarked for 
the island. 

As we crossed the broad flood, whose turbid waters al- 
ways look swollen as if by a series of freshets, a flight of 
birds sprang from the low swamp we were approaching, 
and literally, as it rose in the air^ cast a shadow like that 


of a cloud, which might be said, with but little exaggera- 
tion, to darken the sun for a few seconds. How well I 
remember my poor Aunt Whitelock describing such phe- 
nomena as of frequent occurrence in America, and the 
scornful incredulity with which we heard, without accept- 
ing, these legends of her Western experience! , How lit- 
tle I then thought that I should have to cry peccavi to her 
memory from the bottom of such ruts, and under the 
shadow of such flights of winged creatures as she used to 
describe from the muddy ways of Pennsylvania and the 
muddy waters of Georgia. 

The vegetation is already in an active state of demon- 
stration, sprouting, into lovely pale green and vivid red- 
brown buds and leaflets, though 'tis yet early in January. 

After our return home we had a visit from Mr. C , 

one of our neighboi's, an intelligent and humane man, to 
whose account of the qualities and characteristics of the 
slaves, as he had observed and experienced them, I li-stened 
with great interest. The Brunswick Canal was again the 
subject of conversation, and again the impossibility of al- 
lowing the negroes and Irish to work in proximity was 
stated, and admitted as an indisputable fact. It strikes 
me with amazement to hear the hopeless doom of incapac- 
ity for progress pronounced upon these wretched slaves, 
when in my own country the very same order of language 
is perpetually applied to these very Irish, here spoken of 
as a sort of race of demigods by negro comparison. And 
it is most true that in Ireland nothing can be more sav- 
age, brutish, filthy, idle, and incorrigibly and hopelessly 
helpless and incapable than the Irish appear ; and yet, 
transplanted to your Northern states, freed from the evil 
influences which surround them at home, they and their 
children become industrious, thrifty, willing to learn, able 
to improve, and forming, in the course of two generations, 
a most valuable accession to your laboring population. 


How is it that it never occurs to these emphatical de- 
nouncers of the whole negro race that the Irish at home 
are esteemed much as they esteem their slaves, and that 
the sentence pronounced against their whole country by 
one of the greatest men of our age, an Irishman, was pre- 
cisely that nothing could save, redeem, or regenerate Ire- 
land unless, as a preparatory measure, the island were sub- 
merged and all its inhabitants drowned off? 

I have had several women at the house to-day asking 
for advice and help for their sick children : they all came 
from No. 2, as they call it, that is, the settlement or clus- 
ter of negro huts nearest to the main one, where we may 
be said to reside. In the afternoon I went thither, and 
found a great many of the little children ailing : there had 
been an unusual mortality among them at this particular 
settlement this winter. In one miserable hut I heard that 
the baby was just dead ; it was one of thirteen; many of 
whom had been, hke itself, mercifully removed from the 
life of degradation arid misery to which their birth ap- 
pointed them ; and whether it was the frequent repetition 
of similar losses, or an instinctive consciousness that death 
was indeed better than life for such children as theirs, I 
know not, but the father and mother, and old Rose, the 
nurse, who was their little baby's grandmother, all seemed 
apathetic, and apparently indifferent to the event. The 
mother merely repeated over and over again, "I've lost a 
many ; they all goes so ;" and the father, without word or 
comment, went out to his enforced labor. 

As I left the cabin, rejoicing for them at the deliverance 
out of slavery of their poor child, I found myself suddenly 
surrounded by a swarm of young ragamuffins in every 
stage of partial nudity, clamoring from out of their, filthy 
remnants of rags for donations of scarlet ribbon for the 
ball, which was to take place that evening. The melan- 
choly scene I had just witnessed, and the still sadder re- 

96 JOUENAl 01" 

flection it had given rise to, had quite driven all thoughts 
of the approaching festivity from my mind ; but the sud- 
den demand for these graceful luxuries by Mr. 's half- 
naked dependents reminded me of the grotesque mask 
which life wears on one of its mysterious faces ; and with 
as much sympathy for rejoicing as my late sympathy for 
sorrow had left me capable of, I procured the desired or- 
naments. I have considerable fellow-feeling for the pas- 
sion for all shades of red which prevails among these 
dusky fellow-creatures of mine, a savage propensity for 
that same color in all its modifications being a tendency 
of my own. 

At our own settlement (No. 1) I found every thing in 
a high fever of preparation for the ball. A huge boat had 
just arrived from the cotton plantation at St. Simon's, la- 
den with the youth and beauty of that portion of the es- 
tate who had been invited to join the party ; and the greet- 
ings among the arrivers and welcomers, and the heaven- 
defying combinations of color in the gala attire of both, 
surpass air my powers of descrijition. The ball, to which 
of course we went, took place in one of the rooms of the 
Infirmary. As the room had, fortunately, but few occu- 
pants, they were removed to another apartment, and, with- 
out any very tender consideration for then* not very re- 
mote, though invisible sufferings, the dancing commenced, 

and was continued. Oh, my dear E -, I have seen Jim 

Crow — the veritable James: all the contortions, a:nd 
springs, and flings, and kicks, and capers you have been 
beguiled into accepting as indicative of him are spurious, 
faint, feeble, impotent — in a word, pale KTorthern repro- 
ductions of that ineffable black conception. It is impossi- 
ble for words to describe the things these people did with 
their bodies, and, above all, with their faces, the whites 
of their eyes, and the whites of their teeth, and certain out- 
lines which either naturally and by the grace of heaven. 


or by the practice of some peculiar artistic dexterity, they 
bring into prominent and most ludicrous display. The 
languishing elegance of some — ^the painstaking laborious- 
ness of others — above all, the feats of a certain enthusias- 
tic banjo-player, who seemed to me to thump his instru- 
ment with every part of his body at once, at last so ut- 
terly overcame any attempt at decorous gi-avity on my 
part that I was obliged to secede ; and, considering what 
the atmosphere was that we inhaled during the exhibi- 
tion, it is only wonderful to me that we were not made ill 
by the double effort not to laugh, and, if possible, not to 

Monday, 20th. 

Mt deaeest E , — A rather longer interval than 

usual has elapsed since I last wrote to you, but I must beg 
you to excuse it. I have had more than a usual amount 
of small daily occupations to fill my time ; and, as a mere 
enumeration of these would not be very interesting to 
you, I will tell you a story which has just formed an ad- 
mirable illustration for my observation of all the miseries 
of which this accursed system of slavery is the cause, even 
under the best and most humane administration of its laws 
and usages. Pray note it, my dear friend, for you will 
find, in the absence of all voluntary or •even conscious 
cruelty on the part of the master, the best possible com- 
ment on a state of things which, without the slightest de- 
sire to injure and oppress, produces such intolerable re- 
sults of injury and oppression. 

We have, as a sort of under nursemaid and assistant of 

my dear M , whose white complexion, as I wrote you, 

occasioned such indignation to my Southern feliow-trav- 
elers, and such extreme perplexity to the poor slaves on 
our arrival here, a much more orthodox servant for these 



parts, a young woman named Psyche, but commonly call- 
ed Sack, not a very graceful abbreviation of the divine 
heathen appellation : she can not be much over twenty, 
has a very pretty figure, a graceful, gentle deportment, 
and a face which, but for its color (she is a dingy mulat- 
to), would be pretty, and is extremely pleasing, from the 
perfect sweetness of its expression ; she is always serious, 
not to say sad and silent, and has always an air of melan- 
choly and timidity, that has frequently struck me very 
much, and would have made me think some special anxi- 
ety or sorrow must occasion it, but that God knows the 
whole condition of these wretched people naturally pro- 
duces such a deportment, and there is no necessity to seek 
for special or peculiar causes to account for it. Just in 
proportion as I have found the slaves on this plantation 
intelligent and advanced beyond the general brutish level 
of the majority, I have observed this pathetic expression 
of countenance in them, a mixture of sadness and fear, the 
involuntary exhibition of the two feelings, which I sup- 
pose must be the predominant experience oj^ their whole 
lives, regret and apprehension, not the less heavy, either 
of them, for being, in some degree, vague and indefinite — ' 
a sense of incalculable past loss and injury, and a dread 
of incalculable future loss and injury. 

I have never questioned Psyche as to her sadness, be- 
cause, in the first place, as I tell you, it appears to me 
most natural, and is observable in all the slaves whose 
superior natural or acquired intelligence allows of their 
filling situations of trust or service about the house and 
family ; and, though I can not and will not refuse to hear 
any and every tale of suffering which these unfortunates 
bring to me, I am anxious to spare both myself and them 
the pain of vain appeals to me for redress and help, which, 
alas ! it is too often utterly out of my power to give them. 
It is useless, and, indeed, worse than useless, that they 


should see my impotent indignation and unavailing pity, 
and hear expressions of compassion for them, and horror 
at their condition, which might only prove incentives to a 
hopeless resistance on their part to a system, under the 
hideous weight of whose oppression any individual or par- 
tial revolt must be annihilated and ground into the dust. 
Therefore, as I tell you, I asked Psyche no questions ; but, 

to my great astonishment, the other day M asked me 

if I knew, to whom Psyche belonged, as the poor woman 
had inquired of her with much hesitation and anguish if 
she could tell her who owned her and her children. She 
has two nice little children under six years old, whom she 
keeps as clean and tidy, and who are sad, and as silent as 
herself. My astonishment at this question was, as you 
will readily believe, not small, and I forthwith sought out 
Psyche for an explanation. She was thrown into extreme 
perturbation at finding that her question had been refer- 
red to me, and it was some time before I could sufficient- 
ly reassure her to-be able to comprehend, in the midst of 
her reiterated entreaties for pardon, and hopes that she 
had not offended me, that she did not know herself who 
owned her. She .was, at one time, the property of Mr. 
K , the former overseer, of whom I have already spo- 
ken to you, and who has just been paying Mr. a vis- 
it. He, like several of his predecessors in the manage- 
ment, has contrived to make a fortune upon it (though it 
yearly decreases in value to the owners, but this is the in- 
evitable course of things in the Southern states), and has 
purchased a plantation of his own in Alabama, I believe, 
or one of the Southwestern states. Whether she still be- 
longed to Mr, K or not she did not know, and en- 
treated me, if she did, to endeavor to persuade Mr. 

to buy her. Now you must know that this poor woman 

is the wife of one of Mr. B 's slaves, a fine, intelligent, 

active, excellent young man, whose whole family are 


among some of the very best specimens of character and 
capacity on the estate. I was so astonished at the (to 
me) extraordinary state of things revealed by poor Sack's 
petition, that I could only tell her that I had supposed all 

the negroes on the plantation were Mr. 's property, 

but that I would certainly inquire, and find out for her, if 
I ootild, to whom she belonged, and if I could, endeavor 

to get, Mr. to purchase her, if slie really was not his. 

Now, E — ^ — ^j just conceive for one moment tha state of 
mind of this woman, believing herself to belong to a man 
who in a few days was going down to one of those ab- 
horred and dreaded Southwestern states, and who would 
then compel her, with her poor little children, to leave her 
husband and the only home she had ever known, and all 
the ties of affection, relationship, and association of her 
former life, to follow him thither, in all human probability 
never again to behold any living creature that she had 
seen before; and this was so completely a matter of 
course that it was not even thought necessary to apprise 
her positively of the fact, and the only thing that inter- 
posed between her and this most miserable fate was the 

faint hope that Mr. might /mve purchased her and 

her children. But if he had, if this great deliverance had 
been vouchsafed to her, the knowledge of it was not 
thought necessary; and with this deadly dread at her 
heart she was living day after day, waiting upon me and 
seeing me, with my husband beside me, and my children 
in my arms in blessed security, safe from all separation 
but the one reserved in God's great providence for all His 
creatures. Do you think I wondered any more at the 
wo-begone expression of her countenance, or do you think 
it was easy for me to restrain within prudent and proper 
limits the expression of my feelings at such a state of 
things ? And she had gone on from day to day enduring 
thi^ agony, till I suppose its own intolerable pressure and 


M ^s sweet countenance and gentle sympathizing voice 

and manner had constrained her to lay down this great 
burden of sorrow at our feet. I did not see Mr. un- 
til the evening ; but, in the mean time, meeting Mi\ O , 

the overseer, with whom, as I believe I have already told 
you, we are living here, I asked him about Psyche, and 
who was her proprietor, when, to my infinite surprisBj he 
told me that he had bought her and her children from Mr. 

K , who had offered them to him, saying that they 

would be rather troublesome to him than otherwise down 
where he was going ; " and so," said Mr. 0-; — , " as I 
had no objection to investing a little money that way, I 
bought them." "With a heart much lightened, I flew to 
tell poor Psyche the news, so that, at any rate, she might 
be relieved froni the. dread, of any immediate separation 
from her husband. You can imagine better than I can 
tell you what her sensations were ; but she still renewed 

her prayer that I would, if possible, induce Mr, to 

purchase her, and I promised to do so. 

Early the next morning, while I was still dressing, I 
was suddenly startled by hearing voices in loud tones in 

Mr. ;'s dressing-room, which adjoins my bedroom, and 

the noise increasing until there was an absolute cry of de- 
spair uttered by some man^" I could restrain myself no 
longer, but opened the door of communication and saw 
Joe, the young man, poor Psyche's husband, raving almost 
in a state of frenzy, and in a voice broken with sobs and 
almost inarticulate with passion, reiterating his determin- 
ation never to leave this plantation, never to go to Ala- 
bama, never to leave his old father and mother, his poor 
wife and children, and dashing his hat, which he was 
wringing like a cloth in his hands, upon the gi'ound, he 
declared he would kill himself if he was compelled to fol- 
low Mr. K . I glanced from the poor wretch to Mr. 

, who was standing, leaning against a table with his 


arms folded, occasionally. uttering a few words of counsel 
to his slave to l^e quiet and not fret, and not make a fuss 
about what there was no help for. I retreated immedi- 
ately from the horrid scene, breathless with surprise and 
dismay, and stood for some time in my own room, with 
my heart and temples throbbing to such a degree that I 
could hardly support myself. As soon as I recovered- 
myself I again sought Mr. O — — , and inquired of him if 
he knew the cause of poor Joe's distress. He then told 

me that Mr. , who is highly pleased with Mr. K 's 

past administration of his property, wished, on his depart- 
ure for his newly-acquired, slave plantation, to give him 
some token of his satisfaction, and had made him a Res- 
ent of the man Joe, who had just received the intelligence 
that he was to go down to Alabama with his new owner 
the next day, leaving fathei', mother, wife, and children 
behind. Ton will not wonder that the man required a 
little judicious soothing under such circumstances, and 
you will also, I hope, admire the humanity of the sale of 
his wife and children by the owner who was going to 
take him to Alabama, because they would be encum- 
brances rather than otherwise down there. If Mr. K 

did not do this after he knew that the man was his, then 

Mr. gave him to be cafted down to the South after 

his wife and children were sold to remain in Georgia. I 
do not know which was the real transaction, for I have 
not had the heart to ask; but you will easily imagine 
which of the two .cases I prefer believing. 

When I saw Mr. after this most wretched story 

became known to me in all its details, I appealed to him, 
for his own soul's sake, not to commit so great a cruelty. 
Poor Joe's agony while remonstrating with his master 
was hardly greater than mine while arguing with him 
upon this bitter piece of inhumanity — how I cried, and 
how I adjured, and how all my sense of justice, and of 


mercy, and of pity for the poor wretch, and of -wretched- 
ness at finding myself implicated in such a state of things, 
broke in torrents of words from my lips and tears from 
my eyes ! God knows such a sorrow at seeing any one I 
belonged to commit such an act was indeed a new and 
terrible experience to me, and it seemed to me that I was 

imploring Mr. to save himself more than to spare 

these wretches. He gave me no answer whatever, and I 
have since thought that the intemperate vehemence of my 
entreaties and expostulations perhaps deserved that he 
should leave me as he did without one single word of re- 
ply ; and miserable enough I remained. Toward evening, 
as I was sitting alone, my children having gone to bed, 

Mr. O came into the room. I had but one subject in 

my mind ; I had not been able to eat for it. I could hard- 
ly sit still for the nervous distress which every thought 
of these poor people filled me with. As he sat down look- 
ing over some accounts, I said to him, " Have you seen 
Joe this afternoon, Mr. O ?" (I give you our con- 
versation as it took place.) "Yes, ma'am; he is a great 
deal happier than he was this morning." " Why, how is 
that?" asked I, eagerly. "Oh, he is not going to Ala- 
bama. Mr. K heard that he had kicked up a fuss 

about it (being in despair at being torn from one's wife 
and children is called Tticking up a fuss ; this is a sample 
of overseer appreciation of human feelings), and said that 
if the fellow wasn't willing to go with him, he did not 
wish to be bothered with any niggers down there who 
were to be troublesome, so he might stay behind." "And 
does Psyche know this ?" " Yes, ma'am, I suppose so." 
I drew a long breath ; and whereas my needle had stum- 
bled through the stuff I was sewing for an hour before, as 
if my fingers could not guide it, the regularity and rapid- 
ity of its evolutions were now quite edifying. The man 
was for the present safe, and I remained silently ponder- 


ing his deliverance and the whole proceeding, and the 
conduct of every one engaged in it, and, above all, Mr. 

's share in the transaction, and I think, for the first 

time, almost a sense of horrible personal responsibility and 
implication took hold of my mind, and I felt the weight 
of an unimagined guilt upon my conscience ; and yet, God 
knows, this feeling of self-condemnation is very gratuitous 
on my part, since when I married Mi*. I knew noth- 
ing of these dreadfttl possessions of his, and even if I had 
I should have been much puzzled to have formed any idea 
of the state of things in which I now find myself plunged, 
together with those whose well-doing is as vital to me al- 
most as my own. 

With these agreeable reflections I went to bed. Mi*. 

said not a word to me upon the subject of these 

poor people all the next day, and in the mean time I be- 
came very impatient of this reserve on his part, because I 
was dying to prefer my request that he would purchase 
Psyche and her children, and so prevent any future sep- 
aration between her and her husband, as I supposed he 
would not again attempt to make a present of Joe, at 
least to any one who did not wish to be hoth&red with his 
wife and children. In the evening I was again with Mr. 

O alone in the strange, bare, wooden-walled sort of 

shanty which is our sitting-room, and revolving in my 
mind the means of rescuing Psyche from her miserable 
suspense, a long chain of all my possessions, in the shape 
of bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings, etc., wound in 
glittering procession through my brain, with many hypo- 
thetical calculations of the value of each separate orna- 
ment, and the very doubtful probability of the amount of 
the whole being equal to the price of this poor creature 
and her children ; and then the great power and privilege 
I had foregone of earning money by my own labor oc- 
curred to me, and I think, for the first time in my life, my 


past profession assumed an aspect that arrested my 
thoughts most seriously. For the last four years of my 
life that preceded my marriage I literally coined money, 
and never until this moment, I think, did I reflect on the 
great means of good, to myself and others, that I so glad- 
ly agreed to give up forever for a. maintenance by the un- 
paid labor of slaves — ^people toiling'not only unpaid, but 
under the bitter conditions the bare contemplation of 
wHch was then wringing my heart. You will not won- 
der that when, in the midst of such cogitations, I sudden- 
ly accosted Mr. O , it was to this effect : " Mr. O , 

I have a particular favor to beg of you. Promise me that 
you will never sell Psyche and her children without first 
letting me know of your intention to do so, and giving 
me the option of buying them." Mr. O — — is a remark- 
ably deliberate man, and squints, so that, when he has 
taken a little time in directing his eyes to you, you are 
still unpleasantly unaware of any result in which you are 
concerned ; he laid down a book he was reading, and dU 
rected his head and one of his eyes toward me and an- 
swered, "Dear me, ma'am, I am very sorry — ^I have sold 
them." My work fell down on the ground, and rny mouth 
opened wide, but I could utter no sound, I was so dis- 
mayed and surprised ; and he deliberately proceeded : " I 
didn't know, ma'am, you see, at all, that you entertained 
any idea of making an investment of that nature ; for I'm 
sure, if I had, I would willingly have sold the woman to 
you; but I. sold her and her children this morning to 

Mr. — '■ — ." My dear E , though had resented my 

unmeasured upbraidings, you see they had not been with- 
out some good efieet, and though he had, perhaps justly, 
punished my violent outbreak of indignation about the 
miserable scene I witnessed by not telling me of his hu- 
mane purpose, he had bought these poor creatures, and so, 
I trust, secured them from any such misery in future. I 

E 2 


jumped up and left Mr. O- still speaking, and ran to 

find Mr. , to thank him for what he had done, and 

with that wiU now bid you good-by. Think, E , how 

it fares with slaves on plantations where there is no crazy 
Englishwoman to weep, and entreat, and implore, and up- 
braid for them, and no master willing to listen to such ap- 

Dbae E , — There is one privilege which I enjoy 

here which I think few Cockneynesses have ever had ex- 
perience of, that of hearing my own extemporaneous 
praises chanted bard-fashion by our negroes in rhymes as 
rude and to measures as simple as ever any illustrious fe- 
male of the days of King Brian Boroihme listened to. 
Rowing yesterday evening through a beautiful sunset 
into a more beautiful moonrise, my two sable boatmen en- 
tertained themselves and me with alternate strophe and 
antistrophe of poetical description of my personal at- 
tractions, in which my " wire waist" recurred repeatedly, 
to my intense amusement. This is a charm for the pos- 
session of which M (my white nursemaid) is also in- 
variably celebrated; and I suppose that the fine round 
natural proportions of the uncompressed waists of the 
sable beauties of these regions appear less symmetrical to 
(syes accustomed to them than our stay-cased figures, 
since " nothing pleaseth but rare accidents." Occasion- 
ally I am celebrated in these rowing chants as " Massa's 

darling," and S comes in for endless glorification on 

account of the brilliant beauty of her complexion ; the 
other day, however, our poets made a diversion from the 
personal to the moral qualities of their small mistress, and 
after the usual tribute to her roses and lilies came the fol- 
lowing rather significant couplet : 


"Little Missis Sally, 
That's a ruling lady." 

At ■which all the white teeth simultaneously lightened 
from the black visages, while the subject of this equivocal 
commendation sat with infantine solemnity (the profound- 
est, I think, that the human countenance is capable of), 
surveying her sable dependents with imperturbable grav- 

Yesterday morning I amused myself with an exercise 
of a talent I once possessed, but have so neglected that 
iny performance might almost be ' called an experiment. 
I cut' out a dress for one of the women. My education in 
France — where, in some important respects, I think girls 
are better trained than with us — ^had sent me home to 
England, at sixteen, an adept in the female mystery of 
needle-work. Not only owmg to the Saturday's disci- 
pline of clothes-mending by all the classes — while I'Abbd 
Millet's history (of blessed boring memory) was being 
read aloud, to prevent "vain babblings," and insure 
wholesome mental occupation the while — was I an expert 
patcher and mender, darner and piecer (darning and mark- 
ing were my specialties), but the white cotton embroidery 
of which every French woman has always a piece under 
her handpour les momens perdus, which are thus any thing 
but jperdtis, was as famUar to us as to the Irish cottagers 
of the present day, and 'cutting out and making my dresses 
was among the more advanced branches of the female ac- 
complishment to which I attained.* The luxury of a lady's 

* Some of our great English ladies are, I know, exquisite needle- 
women ; but I do not think, in spite of these exceptional examples, 
that young English ladies of the higher classes are much skilled in 
this respect at the present day ; and as for the democratic daughters 
of America, who for many reasons might be supposed likely to be well 
up in such housewifely lore, they are, for the most part, so ignorant 
of it that I have heard the most eloquent preacher of the city of New 


maid of my own, indulged in ever since the days of my 
"coming out," has naturally enough caused my right hand 
to forget its cunning, and regret and shame at having lost 
any useful lore in my life made me accede, for my own 
sake, to the request of one of our multitudinous Dianas 
and innumerable Chloes to cut out dresses for each of 
them, especially as they (wonderful to relate) declared 
themselves able to stitch them if I would do the cutting. 
Since I have been on the plantation I have already spent 
considerable time in what the French call "confection- 
ing" baby bundles, i. e., the rough and very simple tiny 
habiliments of coarse cotton and scarlet flannel which form 
a baby's layette here, and of which I have run up some 
scores; but my present task was far more difficult. 
Chloe was an ordinary mortal negress enough, but Diana 
might have been the Huntress of the Woods herself, done 
into the African type. Tall, large, straight, well made, 
profoundly serious, she stood like a bronze statue, while I, 
mounted on a stool (the only way in which I could attain 
to the noble shoulders and bust of my lay figure), pinned 
and measured, and cut and shaped, under the superintend- 
ence of M , and had the satisfaction of seeing the fine 

proportions of my black goddess quite becomingly clothed 
in a high, tight-fitting body of the gayest chintz, which 
she really contrived to put together quite creditably. 
I was so elated with my own pert of this performance 

York advert to their incapacity in this respect as an impediment to 
their assistance of the poor, and ascribe to the fact that the daughters 
of his own parishioners did not know how to sew, the impossibility of 
their giving the most valnable species of help to the women of the 
needier classes, whose condition could hardly be more effectually im- 
proved than by acquiring such useful knowledge. I have known 
young American school-girls duly instructed in the nature of the par- 
allaxes of the stars, but, as a rule, they do not know how to dam their 
stockings. Los Dames du Sacr^ Coeur do better for their high-born 
and well-bred pupils than this. 


that I then and there determined to put into execution a 
plan I had long formed of endowing the little boat in 
which I take what the French call my walks on the water 
with cushions for the hack and seat of the benches usual- 
ly occupied by myself and Mr. ; so, putting on my 

large straw hat, and plucking up a paper of pins, scissors, 
and my brown holland, I walked to the steps, and, jump- 
ing into the little 'canoe, began piecing, and measuring, 
and cutting the cushions, which were to be stuffed with 
the tree moss by some of the people who understand 
making a rough kind of mattress. My inanimate subject, 
however, proved far more troublesome to fit than my liv- 
ing lay figure, for the little cockle-shell ducked, and dived, 
and rocked, and tipped, and courtesied, and tilted, as I 
knelt first on one side and then on the other, fitting her, 
till I was almost in despair ; however, I got a sort of pat- 
tern at last, and by dint of some pertinacious efforts — 
which, in their incompleteness, did not escape some sar- 
castic remarks from Mr. — '— on the capabilities of" wom- 
en of genius" applied to commonplace objects — the mat- 
ter was accomplished, and the little Dolphin rejoiced in 
very tidy back and. seat cushions, covered with brown 
holland, and bound with green serge. My ambition then 
began to contemplate an awning ; but the boat being of 
the nature of a canoe' — though not a real one, inasmuch 
as it is not made of a sbgle log — does not admit of sup- 
ports for such an edifice. 

I had rather a fright the other day in that same small 

craft, into which I had taken S , with the intention of 

paddling myself a little way down the river and back. I 
used to row tolerably well, and was very fond of it, and 
frequently here take an oar, when the men are rowing me 
in the long-boat, as some sort of equivalent for my riding, 
of which, of course, I am entirely deprived on this little 
dikelarid of ours ; but paddling is a perfectly different pro- 


cess, and one that I was very anxious to achieve. My 
first strokes answered the purpose of sending the boat off 
from shore, and for a few minutes I got on pretty well ; 
but presently I got tired of shifting the paddle from side 
to side, a mancEuvre which I accomplished very clumsily 
and slowly, and yet, with all my precautions, not without 
making the boat tip perilously. The immense breadth 
and volume of the river suddenly seized my eyes and im- 
agination as it were, and I began to fancy that if I got 
into the middle of the stream I should not be able to 
paddle myself back against it — which, indeed, might very 
well have pi'oved the case. Then I became nervous, and 
paddled all on one side, by which means, of course, I only 

turned the boat round. S:> began to fidget about, 

getting up from where I had placed her, and terrifying 
me with her unsteady motions and the rocking of the 
canoe. I was now very much frightened, and saw that 
I must get back to shore before I became more helpless 

than I was beginning to feel ; so, laying S down in 

the bottom of the boat as a preliminary precaution, I 
said to her with infinite, emphasis, " Now lie stUl there, 
and don't stir, or you'll be drowned," to which, with her 
clear gray eyes fixed on me, and no sign whatever of 
emotion, she replied deliberately, "I shall lie stiU here, 
and won't stir, for I should not like to be drowned," 
which, for an aiom not four years old, was rather philo- 
sophical. Then I looked about me, and of course having 
drifted, set steadily to work and paddled home, with my 
heart in my mouth almost till we grazed the steps, and I 
got my precious freight safe on shore again, since which I 
have taken no more paddling lessons without my slave 
and master, Jack. 

We have had a death among the people since I last 
wrote to you. A very valuable slave called Shadrach was 
seized with a disease which is frequentj and very apt to 


be fatal here — peripneumonia; and, in spite of all that 
could be done to save him, sank rapidly, and died after 
an acute illness of only three days. The doctor came re- 
peatedly from Darien, and the last night of the poor fel- 
low's life himself watched with him. I suppose the 

general low diet of the negroes must produce some want 
of stamina in them ; certainly, either from natural consti- 
tution or the effect of their habits of existence, or both, 
it is astonishing how much less power of resistance to dis- 
ease they seem to possess than we do. If they, are ill, the 
vital energy seems to sink immediately. This rice culti- 
vation, too, although it does not affect them as it would 
whites — to whom, indeed, residence on the rice plantation 
after a certain season is impossible— is still, to a certain 
degree, deleterious even to the negroes. The proportion 
of sick is always greater here than on the cotton planta- 
tion, and the invalids of this place are not unfrequently 
sent down to St. Simon's to recover their strength, under 
the more favorable influences of the sea air and dry sandy 
soil of Hampton Point. 

Yestei'day afternoon the tepid warmth of the air and 
glassy stUlness of the river seemed to me highly suggest- 
ive of fishing, and I determined, not having yet discovered 
what I could catch with what in these unknown waters, 
to try a little innocent paste bait — a mysteiy his initiation 
into which caused Jack much wonderment. The only 
hooks I had with me, however, had been bought in Darien 
— made, I should think, at. the North expressly for this 
market ; and so villainously bad were they, that, after try- 
ing them and my patience a reasonable time, I gave up 
the attempt and took a lesson in paddling instead. Among 
other items Jack told me of his own fishing experience 
was that he had more than once caught those most excel- 
lent creatures, Altamaha shad, by the fish themselves leap- 
ing out of the water and landing„as Jack expressed it, to 


escape fl-om the porpoises, which come in large schools up 
the river to a considerable distance, occasioning, evidently, 
much emotion in the bosoms of the legitimate inhabitants 
of these muddy waters. Coasting the island on. our re- 
turn home, we found a trap, which the last time we exam- 
ined it was tenanted by a creature tailed a mink, now oc- 
cupied by an otter. The poor beast did not seem pleased 
with his predicament ; but the trap had been set by one 
of the drivers, and, of course. Jack would not have med- 
dled with it except upon my express oi'der, which, in spite 
of some pangs of pity for the otter, I did not like to give 
him, as, in the extremely few resources of either profit or 
pleasure possessed by the slaves, I could not tell at all 
what might be the value of an otter to his captor. 

Yesterday evening the burial of the poor man Shadrach 
took place. I had been applied to for a sufficient quantity 
of cotton cloth to make a winding-sheet for him, and just 
as the twilight was thickening into darkness I went with 
Mr. — "— to the cottage of one of the slaves whom I may 
have mentioned to you before — a cooper of the name of 
London, the head of the religious party of the inhabitants 
of the island, a Methodist preacher of no small intdligence 
"and influence among the people — who was to perform the 
burial service. The coffin was laid on trestles in front of 
the cooper's cottage, and a large assemblage of the people 
had gathered round, many of the men carrying pine-wood 
torches, the fitful glare of which glanced over the strange 
assembly, where every pair of large white-rimmed eyes 

turned upon and myself; we two poor creatures, on 

this more solemn occasion, as well as on every other when 
these people encounter us, being the objects of admiration 
and wonderment, on which their gaze is immovably rivet- 
ed. Presently the whole congregation uplifted their voices 
in a hymn, the first high waiUng notes of which — sung all 
in unison, in the midst of these unwonted surroundings — 


sent a thrill through all my nerves. When, the chant 
ceased, cooper London began a prayer, and all the people 
knelt down in the sand, as I did also. Mr. alone re- 
mained standing in the presence of the dead man and of 
the living God to whom his slaves were now appealing. 
I can not tell you how profoundly the whole ceremony, if 
such it could be called, affected me ; and there was noth- 
ing in the simple and pathetic supplication of tiie poor 
black artisan to check or interfere with the solemn influ- 
ences of the whole scene. It was a sort of conventional 
Methodist prayer, and probably quite as conventional as 
all the rest was the closing invocation of God's blessing • 
upon their master, their mistress, and our children ; but 
this fairly overca,me my composure, and I began to cry 
very bitterly ; for these same individuals, whose implica- 
tion in the state of things in the midst of which we are 
living, seemed to me as legitimate a cause for tears as for 
prayers. When the prayer was concluded we all rose, 
and, the coffin being taken up, proceeded to the people's 
burial-ground, when London read aloud portions of the 
funeral service from the Prayer-book — I presume the 
American Episcopal version of our Church service, for 
what he read appeared to be merely a selection from what 
was perfectly familiar to me ; but whether he himself ex- 
tracted what he uttered I did not inquire. Indeed, I was 
too much absorbed in the whole scene, and the many min- 
gled emotions it excited of awe and pity, and an in'de- 
scribable sensation of wonder at finding myself on this 
slave soil, surrounded by mt slaves, among whom again I 
knelt while the words proclaiming to the living and the 
dead the everlasting covenant of freedom, " I am the res- 
urrection and the life," sounded over the prostrate throng, 
and mingled with the heavy flowing of the vast river 
sweeping, not far from where we stood, through the dark- 
ness by which we were now encompassed (beyond the 


immediate jpircle of our torch-bearers). There was some- 
thing painful to me in 's standing while we all knelt 

on the earth ; for, though in any church in Philadelphia 
he would have stood during the praying of any minister, 
here I wished he would have knelt, to have given his 
slaves some token of his belief that — at least in the sight 
of that Master to whom we were addressing our worship 
— all men are equal. The service ended with a short ad- 
dress from London upon the subject of Lazarus, and the 
confirmation which the story of his resurrection afforded 
our hopes. The words were simple and rustic, and of 
-course uttered in the peculiar sort .of jargon which is the 
habitual negro speech ; but there was nothing in the slight- 
est degree incongruous or grotesque in the matter or man- 
ner, and the exhortations not to steal, or lie, or neglect to 
work well for massa, with which the glorious hope of im- 
mortality was blended in the poor slave preacher's closing 
address, was a moral adaptation, as wholesome as it was 
touching, of the great Christian theory to the capacities 
and consciences of his.hearers. "When the coffin was low- 
ered tte grave was found to be partially filled with water 
— naturally enough, for the whole island is a mere swamp, 
off which the Altamaha is only kept from sweeping by 
the high dikes all round it. This seemed to shock and 
distress the people, and for the first time during the whole 
ceremony there were sounds of crying and exclamations 
of ^rief heard among them. Their chief expression of 

sorrow, however, when Mr. and myself bade them 

good-night at the conclusion of the service, was on account 
of my crying, which appeared to affect them very much, 
many of them mingling with their " Farewell, good-night, 
massa and missis," affectionate exclamations of "God 
bless you, missis ; don't cry !" " Lor, missis, don't you 

cry so !" Mr. declined the assistance of any of the 

torch-bearers home, and bade them all go quietly to their 


quarters ; and as soon as they had dispersed, and we had 
got beyond the fitful and unequal glaring of the torches, 
we found the shining of the stars in the deep blue lovely 
night sky quite sufficient to light our. way along the dikes. 

I could not speak to , but continued to cry as we 

walked silently home ; and, whatever his cogitations were, 
they did not take the usual form with him of wordy dem-* 
onstration, and so we returned from one of the most strik- 
ing religious ceremonies at which I ever assisted. Ar. 
rived at the door of the house, we perceived that we had 
been followed the whole way by the naked, noiseless feet 
of a poor half-witted creature, a female idiot, whose men- 
tal incapacity, of course, in no respect unfits her for the 
life of toil, little more intellectual than that of any beast 
of burden, which is her allotted portion here. Some small 
gratification was given to her, and she departed gibbering 

and muttering in high glee. Think, E , of that man 

London, who, in spite of all the bitter barriers in his way^ 
has learned to read, has read his Bible, teaches it to his 
unfortunate fellows, and is used by his owner and his own- 
er's agents, for all these causes, as an effectual influence 
for good over the slaves of whom he is himself the de- 
spised and injured companion. Like them, subject to the 
driver's lash; like them, the helpless creature of his mas- 
ter's despotic will, without a right or a hope in this dreary 
world. But, though the light he has attained must show 
him the terrible aspects of his fate hidden by blessed ig- 
norance from his companions, it reveals to him also other 
rights and other hopes — another world, another life — 
toward which he leads, according to the grace vouchsafed 
to him, his poor fellow-slaves. How can we keep this 
man in such a condition ? How is such a cruel sin of in- 
justice to be answered ? Mr. , of course, sees and 

feels none of this as I do, and, I should think, must regret 
that he ever brought me here, to have my abhorrence of 

116 JOUENAL 01" 

the theory of slavery deepened, and strengthened every 
hour of my life, hy what I see of its practice. ., 

This morning I went over to Darien upon the very fe- 
male errands of returning visits and shopping. In one 
respect (assuredly in none other) our life here resembles 
existence in Venice: we can never leave home for any 
purpose or in any direction but by boat— not, indeed, by 
gondola, but the sharp-cut, well-made light craft in which 
we take our walks On the water is a very agreeable spe- 
cies of conveyance. One of my visits this morning was 

to a certain Miss , whose rather grandiloquent name 

and very striking style of beauty exceedingly well became 
the daughter of an ex-governor of Georgia. As for the 
residence of this princess, it was hke all the planters' resi- 
dences that I have seen, and such as a well-to-do English 
farmer would certainly not inhabit. Occasional marks of 
former elegance or splendor survive sometimes in the size 
of the rooms, sometimes in a little carved woodwork about 
the mantel-pieces or wainscotings of these mansions ; but 
all things have a Castle Rackrent air of neglect, and dreary, 
careless untidiness, with which the dirty, barefooted negro 
servants are in excellent keeping. Occasionally a huge 
pair .of dazzling shirt-gills, out of which a black visage 
grins as out of some vast white paper cornet, adorns the 
sable footman of the establishment, but unfortunately with- 
out at all necessarily indicating any downward prolonga- 
tion of the ^rment; and the perfect tulip-bed of a head- 
handkerchief with which the female attendants of these 
"great families" love t® bedizen themselves frequently 
stands them instead of every other most indispensable ar- 
ticle of female attire. 

As for my shopping, the goods, or rather " bads," at 
which I used to grumble, in your village emporium at 
Lenox, are what may be termed " first rate," both in ex- 
cellence and elegance, compared with the vile pi-oducts of 


every sort which we wretched Southerners are expected 
to accept as the conveniences of life in exchange for cur- 
rent coin of the realm. I regret to say, moreover, that all 
these infamous articles are Yankee made — expressly for 
this market, where every species oi thing (to use the most 
general term I can think of ), from list shoes to piano-fortes, 
is procured from the North — almost always New England, 
utterly worthless of its kind, and dearer than the most per- 
fect specimens of the same articles w^ould be any where 
else. The incredible variety and ludicrous combinations 
of goods to be met with in one of these Southern shops 
beats the stock of your village omhium-gatherum hollow : 
to be sure, one class of articlesj and that probably the most 
. in demand here, is not sold over any counter in Massa- 
chusetts — cowhides and nian-traps, of which a large assort- 
ment enters necessarily into the furniture of every South- 
ern shop. 

In passing to-day along the deep sand road calling it- 
self the street of Dafien, my notice was attracted by an 
extremely handsome and intelligent-looking poodle, stand- 
ing by a little wizen-looking knife-grinder, whose features 
were evidently European, though he was nearly as black 
as a negro, who, strange to say, was discoursing with him 
in very tolerable French. The impulse of, curiosity led 
me to accost the man at the grindstone, when his compan- 
ion immediately made off. The itinerant artisan was from 
Aix, in Provence : think of wandering thence to Darien in 
Gfeorgia ! I asked him about the negro who was talking 
to him ; he said he knew nothing of him but that he was 
a slave belonging to somebody in the town. And upon 
my expressing surprise at his having left his own beauti-^, 
ful and pleasant country for this dreary distant region, he 
answered, with a shrug and a smile, " Oui, madame, c'est 
vrai ; c'est un joli pays, mais dans ce pays-E, quand un 
homme n'a rien, c'est rien pour toujours." A property 


which many, no doutt, have come hither, like the little 
French knife-grinder, to increase, without succeeding in 
the struggle much better than he appeared to have done. 

Deae E , — ^Having made a fresh, and, as I thought, 

more promising purchase of fishing-tackle, Jack and I be- 
took ourselves to the river, and succeeded in securing 
some immense catfish, of which, to tell you the truth, I am 
most horribly afraid when I have caught them. The dex- 
terity necessary for taking them off the hook so as to avoid 
the spikes on their backs, and the spikes on each side of 
their gills, the former having to be pressed down, and 
the two others pressed up, before you can get any pur- 
chase on the slimy beast (for it is smooth skinned and 
without scales, to add to the difficulty) — these conditions, 
I say, make the catching of catfish questionable sport. 
Then, too, they hiss, and spit, and swear at one, and are al- 
together devilish in their aspect and demeanor ; nor are 
they good for food, except, as Jack with much humility 
said this, morning, for colored folks — " Good for cqlored 
folks, missis ; me 'spect not good enough for white peo- 
ple." That 'spect, meaning expect, has sometimes a pos- 
sible meaning of-^stwpeot, which would give the sentence 
in which it occurs a very humorous turn, and I always 
take the benefit of that interpretation. After exhausting 
the charms of our occupation, finding that catfish were 
likely to be our principal haul, I left the river and went 
my rounds to the hospitals. On my way I encountered 
two batches of small black fry, Hannah's children and poor 
Psyche's children, looking really as neat and tidy as chil- 
dren of the bettermost class of artisans among ourselves. 
These people are so quick and so imitative that it would 
be the easiest thing in the world to improve their physical 
condition by appealing to their emulative propensities. 


Their passion for what is genteel might be used most ad- 
vantageously in the same direction ; and, indeed, I think 
it would be diflScult to find people who oflfered such a fair 
purchase by so many of their characteristics to the hand 
of the reformer. 

Returning from the hospital, I was accosted by poor old 
Teresa, the wretcbed negress who had complained to me 
so grievously of her back being broken by hard work and 
chUdbearing. She was in a dreadful state of excitement, 
which she partly presently communicated to me, because 
she said Mr. O — — had ordered her to be flogged for hav- 
ing complained to me as phe did. It seems to me that I 
have come down here to be tortured, for this punishing 
these wretched creatures for crying out to me for help is 
really converting me Into a source of increased misery to 
them. It is almost more than I can endure to hear these 
horrid stories of lashings inflicted because I have been in- 
voked ; and though I dare say Mr. , thanks to my pas- 
sionate appeals to him," gives me little, credit for prudence 
or self-command, I have some, ^nd I exercise it,, too, when 
I listen to such tales as these with my teeth set fast and 
my lips closed. Whatever I may do to the master, I hold 
my tongue to the slaves, and I wonder how I do it. 

In the afternoon I rowed with Mr. to another isl- 
and in the broad waters of the Altamaha, called Tunno's 
Island, to return the visit of a certain Dr. T — r^, the pro- 
prietor of the island, named after him, as our rice swamp 

is after Major . I here saw growing in the open air 

the most beautiful gardinias I ever beheld ; the branches 
were as high and as thick as the largest clumps of kal- 
mia that grow in your woods; but whereas the tough, 
stringy, fibrous branches of these gives them a straggling 
appearance, these magnificent masses of dark, shiny, glossy 
green leaves were quite compact, and I can not conceive 
any thing lovelief or more delightful than they would be 

120 JOUENAL 01? 

Starred all over witli their thick-leaved, cream-white odor- 
iferous blossoms. ■ 

In the course of our -visit a discussion arose as to the 
credibility of any negro assertion, though, indeed, that 
could hardly be called a discussion that was simply a 
chorus of assenting opinions. No negro was to be be- 
lieved on any occasion or any subject. No doubt they 
are habitual liars, for they are slaves ; but there are some 
thrice honorable exceptions, who, being slaves, are yet not 
liars ; and certainly the vice results much more from the 
circumstances in which they are placed than from any nat- 
ural tendency to untruth in their case. The truth is that 
they are always considered as false and deceitful, and it is 
very seldom that any special investigation of the facts of 
any particular case is resorted to in their behalf. They 
are always prejudged on their supposed general charac- 
teristics, and never judged after the fact on the merit of 
any special instance. 

A question which was discussed in the real sense of 
the- term was that of plowing the land instead of having 
it turned with the spade or hoe. I listened to this with 
great interest, for Jack and I had had some talk upon 
this subject, which began in his ardently expressed wish 
that massa would allow his land -to be plowed, and his 
despairing conclusion that he never would, " 'cause horses 
more costly to keep than colored folks," and plowing, 
therefore, dearer than hoeing or digging. I had ventured 

to suggest to Mr. the possibility of plowing some 

of the fields on the island, and his reply was that the 
whole land was too moist, and too much interrupted with 
the huge masses of the cypress yam roots, which would 
turn the share of any plow; yet there is land belonging 

to our neighbor Mr. G , on the other side of the river, 

where the conditions of the soil must be precisely the 
same, and yet which is being plowed before our faces. 


On Mr. 's adjacent plantation the plow is also used 

extensively and successfully. 

On my return to our own island I visited another of 
the hospitals, and the settlements to which it belonged. 
The condition of these places and of their inhabitants is, 
of course, the same ^ all over the plantation, and if I were 
to describe them I should but weary you with a repeti- 
tion of identicalJphenomena : filthy, wretched, almost na- 
ked, always barelegged and barefooted children;* negli- 
gent, ignorant, wretched mothers, whose apparent indiffer- 
ence to the plight of their offspring, and utter incapacity 
to alter it, are the inevitable result of their slavery. It is 
hopeless to attempt to reform their habits or improve 
their condition while the women are condemned to field 
labor ; nor is it possible to overestimate the bad moral 
effect of the system as regards the women entailing this 
enforced separation from their children, and neglect of aU 
the cares and duties of mother, nurse, and even house- 
wife, which are all merged in the mere physical toil of a 
human hoeing machine. It seems to me too — ^but upon 
this point I can not, of course, judge as well as the persons 
accustomed to and acquainted with the physical capacities 
of their slaves — that the labor is not judiciously distribu- 
ted in many cases — at least not as far as the women are 
concerned. It is true that every able-bodied woman is 
made the most of in being driven afield as long as, under 
aU and any circumstances, she is able to wield a hoe ; but, 
on the other hand, stout, hale, hearty girls and boys, of 
from eight to twelve and older, are allowed to lounge 
about, filthy and idle, with no pretense of an occupation 
but what they call "tend baby," i.e., see to the life and 
limbs of the little slave infants, to whose mothers, work- 
ing in distant fields, they carry them during the day to 
be suckledj and for the rest of the time leave them to 
crawl and kick in the filthy cabins or on the broiling sand 



which surrounds them, in which iudustry, excellent enough 
for the poor bahies, these big lazy youths and lasses emu- 
late them. Again, I find many women who have borne 
from five to ten children rated as workers, precisely as 
young women in the prime of their strength who have 
had none ; this seems a cruel carelessness. To be sure, 
while the women are pregnant their task is diminished, 
and this is ofle of the many indirect inducements held out 
to reckless propagation, which has a sort of premium pf- 
fered to it in the consideration of less work and more 
food, counterbalanced by none of the sacred responsibil- 
ities which hallow and ennoble the relation of parent and 
chUd ; in short, as their lives are for the most part those 
of mere animals, their increase is literally mere animal 
breeding, to which every encouragement is given, for it 
adds to the master's live-stock and the value of his estate. 

Dbae E , — ^To-day I have the pleasure of announc- 
ing to you a variety of improvements about to be made in 
the Infirmary of the island. There is to be a third story 
— a mere loft, indeed — added to the building ; but, by af- 
fording more room for the least distressing cases of sick- 
ness to be drafted off into, it will leave the ground floor 
and room above it comparatively free for the most miser- 
able of these unfortunates. To my unspeakable satisfac- 
tion, these destitute apartments are to be furnished with 
bedsteads, mattresses, pillows, and blankets ; and I feel a 
little comforted for the many heartaches my life here in- 
flicts, upon me — at least some of my twinges will have 
wrought this poor alleviation of their wretchedness for 
the slaves when prostrated by disease or pain. 

I had hardly time to return from the hospital home this 
morning before one of the most tremendous storms I ever 
saw burst over the island. Your Northern hills, with their 


solemn pine woods, and fresh streams and lakes, telling 
of a cold ratter tlian a warm climate, always seem to me 
as if undergoing some strange and unnatural visitation, 
when one of your teavy summer thunder-storms bursts 
over them. Snow and frost, hail and, ahove all, wind, 
trailing rain-clouds and brilliant northern lights, are your 
appropriate sky phenomena ; here, thunder and lightning 
seem as if they«might have been invented. JIven in win- 
tef (remember, we are now in February) they appear nei- 
ther astonishing nor unseasonable, and I should think in 
summer (but Heaven defend me from ever making good 
my supposition) lightning must be as familiar to these 
sweltering lands and slimy waters as sunlight itself. 

The afternoon cleared off most beautifully, and Jack 
and I went out on the river to catch what might be 
caught. Jack's joyful excitement was extreme at my an- 
nouncing to him the fact that Mr. had consented to 

try plowing on some of the driest portions of the island 
instead of the slow and laborious process of hoeing the 
fields; this is a disinterested exultation on his part, for, 
at any rate, as long as I am here, he will certainly be noth- 
ing but " my boy Jack," and I should think, after my de- 
parture, will never be degraded to the rank of a field-hand 
or common laborer. Indeed, the delicacy of his health, to 
which his slight, slender figure anS. languid face bear wit- 
ness, and which was one reason of his appointment to the 
eminence of being " my slave," would, I should think, pre- 
vent the poor fellow's ever being a very robust or useful 
working animal. 

On my return from the river I had a long and painful 
conversation with Mr. — — upon the subject of the flog- 
ging which had been inflicted on the wretched Teresa. 
These discussions are terrible : they throw me into perfect 
agonies of distress for the slaves, whose position is utter- 
ly hopeless ; for myself, whose intervention in their behalf 


sometimes seems to me worse than useless ; for Mr. , 

whose share in this horrible system fills me by turns with 
indignation and pity. But, after all, what can he do ? how 
can he help it all ? Moreover, born and bred in Amer- 
ica, how should he care or wish to help it ? and, of course, 
he does not ; and I am in despair that he does not : et 
voila, it is a happy and hopeful plight for us both. He 
maintained tjiat there had been neither hardship nor in- 
justice in the case of Teresa's flogging ; and that, more- 
over, she had not been flogged at all for complaining to 
me, but simply because her allotted task was not done at 
the appointed time. Of course this was the result of her 
having come to appeal to me instead of going to her la- 
bor; and as she knew perfectly well the penalty she was 
incurring, he maintained that there was neither hardship 
nor injustice in the case ; the whole thing was a regular- 
ly established law, with which all the slaves were perfect- 
ly well acquainted ; and this case was no exception what- 
ever. The circumstance of my being on the island could 
not, of course, be allowed to overthrow the whole system 
of disciplinfe established to secure the labor and obedience 
of the slaves; and if they chose to try experiments as to 
that fact, they and I must take the consequences. At the 
end of the day, the driver of the gang to which Teresa be- 
long^ reported her work not done, and Mr. O order- 
ed him to give her the usual number of stripes, which or- 
der the driver of course obeyed, without knowing how 
Teresa had employed her time instead of hoeing. But 

Mr. O knew well enough, for the wretched woman 

told me that she had herself told him she should appeal 
to me about her weakness, and suffering, and inability to 
do the work exacted from her. 

He did not, however, think proper to exceed in her pun- 
ishment the usual number of stripes allotted to the non- 
performance of the appointed daily task, and Mr, 


pronounced the whole transaction perfectly satisfactoi-y 
and en rhgle. The common drivers are limited in their 
powers of chastisement, not being allowed to administer 
more than a certain number of lashes to their' fellow- 
slaves. Head man Frank, as he is called, has alone the 
privilege of exceeding this limit ; and the overseer's lati- 
tude of infliction is only curtailed by the necessity of 
avoiding injury to life or limb. The master's irresponsi- 
ble power has no such bound. When I was thus silenced 
on the particular case under discussion, I resorted, in my 
distress and indignation, to the abstract question, as I nev- 
er can refrain from doing ; and to Mr. — ^'s assertion of 
the justice of poor Teresa's punishment, I retorted the 
manifest injustice of unpaid and enforced labor ; the bru- 
tal inhumanity of allowing a man to strip and lash a wom- 
an, the mother of. ten children ; to exact from her toil 
which was to maintain in luxury two idle young men, the 
owners of the plantation. I said I thought female labor 
of the sort exacted from these slaves, and corporal chas- 
tisement such as they endure, must be abhorrent to any 

manly or humane man. Mr. said he thought it was 

disagreeable, aadi left me to my: reflections with that con- 
cession. My letter has been interrupted for the last three 
days — ^by nothing special, however. My occupations and 

interests here, of course, change ; but Mr. 

has been anxious for a little while past that we should go 
down to St. Simon's, the cotton plantation. 

We shall sufier less from the heat, which I am begin- 
ning to find oppressive on this swamp island; and he 
himself wished to visit that part of his property, whither 
he had not yet been since our arrival in Georgia ; so the 
day before yesterday he departed to make the necessary 
arrangements for our removal thither; and my time in 
the mean while has been taken up in fitting him out for 
his departure. 


In the morning Jack and I took our usual paddle, and, 
having the tackle on board, tried fishing. I was absorb- 
ed in many sad and serious considerations, and, wonder- 
ful to relate (for you know, — — , how keen an angler I 
am), had lost all consciousness of my occupation until, 
after I know not how long a time elapsing without the 
shadow of a nibble, I was recalled to a most ludicrous 
perception of my ill success by Jack's sudden observa- 
tion, " Missis, fishing berry good fun when um fish bite." 
This settled the fishing for that morning, and I let Jack 
paddle me down the broad turbid stream, endeavoring to 
answer in the most comprehensible manner to his keen 
but utterly undeveloped intellects the innumerable ques- 
tions with which he plied me about Philadelphia, about 
England, about the Atlantic, etc. He dilated much upon 
the charms of St. Simon's, to which he appeared very glad 
that we were going ; and, among other items of descrip- 
tion, mentioned what I was very glad to hear, that it was 
a beautiful place for riding, and that I should be able to 
indiilge to my heart's content in my favorite exercise, from 
which I have, of course, been utterly debarred in this small 
dikeland of ours. He insinuated more than once his hope 
and desire that he might be allowed to accompany me, 
but as I knew nothing at all about his capacity for eques- 
trian exercises,' or any of the arrangements that might or 
might not interfere with such a plan, I was discreetly si- 
lent, and took no notice of his most comically turned hints 
on the subject. In our row we started a quantity of wild 
duck, and he told me there was a great deal of game at 
St. Simon's, but that the people did not contrive to catch 
miich, though they laid traps constantly for it. Of course 
their possessing fire-arms is quite out of the question ; 
but this abundance of what must be to them such espe- 
cially desirable prey makes the fact a great hardship. I 
almost wonder they don't learn to shoot like savages with 


bows and arrows ; but these would be weapons, and equal- 
ly forbidden them. 

In the afternoon I saw Mr. off for St. Simon's ; it 

is fifteen miles lower down the river, and a large island 
at Jhe very mouth of the Altamaha. 

The boat he went in was a large, broad, rather heavy, 
though well-built craft, by no means as swift or elegant 
as the narrow eight-oared long-boat in which he gener- 
ally takes his walks on the wa|pr, but well adapted for 
the traffic between the two plantations, where it serves the 
purpose of a sort of omnibus or stage-coach for the trans- 
fer of the people from one to the other, and of a baggage- 
wagon or cart for the conveyance of all sorts of house- 
hold goods, chattels, and necessaries. Mr. sat in the 

middle of a perfect chaos of such freight; and as the boat 
pushed off, and the steersman took her into the stream, 
the men at the oars set up a chorus, which they continued 
to -chant in unison with each other, and in time with their 
stroke, till the voices and oars were heard no more from 
the distance. I believe I have mentioned to you before 
the peculiar characteristics of this veritable negro min- 
strelsy — how they all sing in unison, having never, it ap- 
pears, attempted or heard any thing like part-singing. 
Their voices seem oftener tenor than any other quality, 
and the tune and time they keep something quite won- 
derful ; such truth of intonation and accent would make 
almost any music agreeable. That which I have heard 
these people sing is often plaintive and pretty, but almost 
always has some resemblance to tunes with which they 
must have become acquainted through the instrumentality 
of white men ; their overseers or masters whistling Scotch 
or Irish airs, of which they have produced by ear these 
rifacciamenti. The note for note reproduction of " Ah ! 
vous dirai-je, maman ?" in one of the most popular of the 
so-called negro ttielodies with which all America and En- 


gland are familiar, is an example of this very transparent 

plagiarism ; and the tune with which Mr. —. 's rowers 

started him down the Altamaha, as I stood at the steps 
to see him off, was a very distinct descendant of" Coming 
through the Rye." The words, however, were astonjgh- 
ingly primitive, especially the first line, which, when it 
burst from their eight throats in high unison, sent me 
into fits of laughter. 

"Jenny sh^e her toe at me, 

Jenny gone away ; 
Jenny shake her toe at me, 

Jenny gone away. 
Hurrah ! Miss Susy, oh ! 

Jenny gone away ; 
Hurrah! Miss Susy, oh! 

Jenny gone away." 

What the obnoxious Jenny meant by shaking her toe, 
whether defiance or mere departure, I never could ascer- 
tain, but her going away was an unmistakable subject of 
satisfaction ; and the pause made on the last " oh !" before 
the final announcement of her departure, had really a good 
deal of dramatic and musical effect. Except the extem- 
poraneous chants in our honor, of which I have written 
to you before, I have never heard the negroes on Mr. 

's plantation sing any words that could be said to 

have any sense. To one, an extremely pretty, plaintive, 
and original air, there was but one line, which was re- 
peated with a sort of wailing chorus^- 

"Oh! my massa told me, there's no grass in Georgia.'' 

Upon inquiring the meaning of which, I was told it was 
supposed to be the lamentation of a slave from one of the 
more northerly states, Virginia or Carolina, where the la- 
bor of hoeing the weeds, or grass as they call it^ is not 
nearly so severe as here, in the rice and-eotton lands of 


Georgia. Another very pretty and pathetic tune began 
with words that seemed to promise something sentiment- 

" Fare you well, and good-by, oh, oh ! 
I'm goin' away to leave you, oh, oh !" 

hut immediately went off into nonsense verses about gen- 
tlemen in the parlor drinking wine and cordial, and ladies 
in the drawing-room drinking tea and coffee, etc. I have 
heard that many of the masters and overseers on these 
plantations prohibit inelancholy tunes or words, and en- 
courage nothing but cheerful music and senseless words, 
deprecating the effect of sadder strains upon the slaves, 
whose peculiar musical sensibility might be expected to 
- make them especially excitable by any songs of a plain- 
tive character, and having any reference to their particu- 
lar hardships. If it is true, I think it a judicious precau- 
tion enough— these poor slaves are just the soft of people 
over whom a popular musical appeal to their feelings and 
passions would have ah immense power. 

In the evening, Mr. ^'s departure left me to the 

pleasures of an uninterrupted tSte-d-tite with his cross-eyed 
overseer, and I endeavored, as I generally da, to atone by 
my conversibleheSs and civilityifor the additional trouble 
which, no doubt, all my outlandish Ways and notions are 
causing the worthy man. So suggestive (to use the new- 
fangled jargon about books) a woman'as myself is,I sus- 
pect, an intolerable nuisance in these parts ; a,nd poor Mr. 

O can not veiy well desire Mr. to send me away, 

however much he may wish that he would; so that fig- 
uratively, as well as literally, I fear the worthy master me 
voit d'un mauvais ceil, as the French say. I asked him 
several questions about some of the slaves who had man- 
aged to learn to read, and Iby what means they had been 
able to do so. As teaching them is strictly prohibited by 
the laws, they who instructed them," and such of them as 

F 2 


acquired the knowledge, must have been not a little de- 
termined and persevering. This was my view of the case, 
of course, and of course it was not the overseer's. I ask- 
ed him if many of Mr. 's slaves could read. He said 

" No ; very few, he was happy to say, hut those few were 
just so many too many." " Why, had he observed any 
insubordination in those who did ?" And I reminded him 
of Cooper London, the Methodist preacher, whose per- 
formance of the burial service had struck me so much 
some time ago, to whose exemplary conduct and charac- 
ter there is but one concurrent testimony all over the 
plantation. /No', he had no special complaint to bring 
against the lettered members of his subject community, 
but he spoke by anticipation. Every step they take to- 
ward intelligence and enlightenment lessens the probabil- 
ity of their acquiescing in their condition. Their condi- 
tion is not to be changed — ergo, they had better not learn 
to read; a very succinct and satisfactory argument as far 
as it goes, no doubt, and one to which I had not a word 

to reply, at any rate, to Mr. O , as I did not feel called 

upon to discuss the abstract justice or equity of the mat- 
ter with him ; indeed he, to a certain degree, gave up that 
part of the position, starting with " I don't say whether 
it's right or wrong ;" and in all conversations that I have 
had with the Southerners upon these subjects, whether 
out of civility to what may be supposed to be an English- 
woman's prejudices, or a forlorn respect to their own con- 
yictions, the question of the fundamental wrong of slavery 
is generally admitted, or, at any rate, certainly never de- 
nied. That part of the subject is summarily dismissed, 
and' all its other aspects vindicated, excused, and even 
lauded, with untiring eloquence. Of course, ot the ab- 
stract question I could judge before I came here, but I 
confess I had not the remotest idea how absolutely my 
observation of every detail of the system, as a practical in- 


iquity, would go to confirm my opinion of its abomination, 

Mr. O went on to condemn and utterly denounce all 

the preaching, and teaching, and moral instruction upon 
religious subjects which people in the South, pressed upon 
by Northern opinion, are endeavoring to give their slaves. 
The kinder and the more cowardly masters are anxious to 
evade the charge of keeping their negroes in brutish ig- 
norance, and so they crumble what they suppose and hope 
may prove a little harmless religious enlightenment, which, 
mixed up with much religions authority on the subject of 
submission and fidelity to masters, they trust their slaves 
may swallow without its doing them any harm — i. e., that 
they may be better Christians and better slaves — and so, 
indeed, no doubt they are ; but it is a very dangerous ex- 
periment, and from Mr. O — '■ — 's point of view I quite 
agree with him. The letting out of water, or the letting 
in of light, in infinitesimal quantities, is not always easy. 
The half-wicked of the earth are the leaks through which 
wickedness is eventually swamped ; compromises forerun 
absolute surrender in most matters, and fools and cow- 
ards are, in such cases, the instruments of Providence for 

their own defeat. Mr. O stated unequivocally his 

opinion that free labor would be more profitable on the 
plantations than the work of slaves, which, being compul- 
sory, was of the worst possible quality and the smallest 
possible quantity ; then the charge of them before and 
after they are able to work is onerous, the cost of feeding 
and clothing them very considerable, and, upon the whole, 
he, a Southern overseer, pronounced himself decidedly in 
favor of free labor, upon grounds of expediency. Having 
at the beginning of our conversation declined discussing 
the moral aspect of slavery, evidently not thinking that 
position tenable, I thought I had every right to consider 

Mr. 's slave-driver a decided Abolitionist. 

I had been anxious to enlist his sympathies on behalf 

132 JOUEXAL OP ^, 

of my extreme desire to have some sort of garden, but 
did not succeed in inspiring Hm with my enthusiasm on 
the subject; he said there was but one garden that he 
knew of in the whole neighborhood: of Darien, and that 

was our neighbor, old Mr. C 's, a Scotchman on St. 

Simon's. I remembered the splendid gardinias on Tun- 
no's Island, and referred to them as a proof of the materi- 
al for ornamental gardening. He laughed, and said rice 
and cotton crops were the ornamental gardening princi- 
pally admired by the planters, and that, to the best of his 
belief, there was not another decent kitchen or flower gar- 
den in the state but the one he had mentioned. 

The next day after this conversation, I walked with my 
horticultural zeal much damped, and wandered along the 
dike by the broad river, looking at some pretty peach- 
trees in blossom, and thinking what a curse of utter stag- 
nation this slavery produces, and how intolerable to me a 
life passed within its stifling influence would be. Think 
of peach-trees in blossom in the middle of February ! It 
does seem cruel, with such a sun and soil, to be told that 
a garden is worth nobody's while here ; however, Mr. 
O said that he believed the wife of the former over- 
seer had made a " sort of a garden" at St. Simon's. We 
shall see " what sort" it turns out to be. While I was 
standing on the dike, ruminating above the river, I saw a 
beautiful white bird of the crane species alight not far 
from me. I do not think a little knowledge of natural 
history would diminish the surprise and admiration with 
which I regard the, to me, unwonted specimeiis of animal 
existence that I encounter every day, and of which I do 
not even know the names. Ignorance is an odious thing. 
The birds here are especially beautiful, I think. I saw 
one the other day, of what species of course I do not 
know, of a warm and rich brown, with a scarlet hood and 
crest — a lovely creature, about the size of your Northern 
robin, but more elegantly shaped. 


This morning, instead of my usual visit to the Infirmary, 
I went to look at the work and workers in the threshing 
miQ : all was going on actively and orderly under the su- 
perintendence of head man Frank, with whom, and a very 
sagacious clever fellow who manages the steam power of 
^e mill, and is honoraWy distinguished as Engineer Ned, 
I had a small chat. There is one among various drawr 
backs to the comfort and pleasure of our intercourse with 
these colored " men and brethren," at least in their slave 
condition, which certainly exercises my fortitude not a 
little — the swarms of fleas that cohabit with these sable 
dependents of ours are — ^well-^iQcredible; moreover, they 
are by no means the only or most objectionable compan- 
ions one borrows from them ; and I never go to the In- 
firmary, where I not unfrequently am requested to' look at 
very dirty limbs and bodies in very dirty draperies, with- 
out coming away with a strong inclination to throw my- 
self into the water, and nay clothes into the fire, which last 
would be expensive. I do not suppose that these hateful 
consequences of dirt and disorder are worse here, than 
among the poor and neglected human creatures who 
swarm in the lower parts of European cities ; but my call 
to visit them has never been such as that which constrains 
me to go daily among these poor people, and although on 
one or two occasions I have penetrated into fearfully foul 
and filthy abodes of misery in London, I have never ren- 
dered the same personal services to their inhabitants that 

I do to Mr. ' 's slaves, and so have not incurred the 

same amount of entomological inconvenience. M 

After leaving the mill I prolonged my walk, and came, 
for the first time, upon one of .the " gangs," as they are 
called, in full field work. Upon my appearance and ap- 
proach there waS a momentary suspension of labor, and 
the usual chorus of screams and ejaculations of welcome, 
afiection, and infinite desires for infinite small indulgences. 


I was afraid to stop their work, not feeling at all sure that 
urging a conversation with me would he accepted as any 
excuse for an uncompleted task, or avert the fatal infliction 
of the usual award of stripes; so I hurried off and left 
them to their hoeing. 

On my way home I was encountered by London, ottr 
Methodist preacher, who accosted me with a request for 
a Prayer-book and Bible, and expressed his regret at hear- 
ing that we were so soon going to St. Simon's. I prom- 
ised him his holy books, and asked him how he had learned 
to read, but found it impossible to get him to tell me. I 
wonder if he thought he should be putting his teacher, 
whoever he was, in danger of the penalty of the law against 
instructing the slaves, if he told me who he was ; it was 
impossible to make him do so, so that, besides his other 
good qualities, he appears to have that most unusual one 
of all in an uneducated person — discretion. He certainly 
is a most remarkable man. 

After parting with him, I was assailed by a small gang 
of children, clamoring for the indulgence of some meat, 
which they besought me to give them. Animal food is 
only allowed to certain of the harder working men, hedg- 
ers and ditchers, and to them only occasionally, and in 
vex'y moderate rations. My small cannibals clamored 
round me for flesh, as if I had had a butcher's cait in my 
pocket, till I began to laugh, and then to run, and away 
they came, like a pack of little black wolves, at my heels, 
shrieking, "Missis, you gib me piece meat — missis, you gib 
P^e meat," till I got home. At the door I foimd another 
petitioner, a young woman named Maria, who brought a 
flue child in her arms, and demanded a present of a piecfe 
of flannel. Upon my asking her who her husband was, 
she replied, without much hesitation, that she did not pos- 
sess any such appendage. I gave another look at her 
bonny baby, and went into the house to get the flannel for 


her. I afterward heard from Mr. that she and two 

other girls of her age, about seventeen, were the only in- 
stances on the island of women with illegitimate children. 

After I had been in the house a little while, I was sum- 
moned out again to receive the petition of certain poor 
women in the family-way to have their work lightened. 
I was, of course, obliged to tell them that I could not in- 
terfere in the matter ; that their master was away, and 
thatj when he came back, they must present their request 
to him : they said they had already begged " massa," and 
he had refused, and they thought, perhaps, if " missis" 
begged " massa" for them, he would lighten their task. 
Poor " missis," poor " massa," poor woman, that I am to 
have such prayers addressed to me ! I had to tell them 
that, if they had already spoken to their master, I was 
afraid my doing so would be of no use, but that when he 
came back I Acould try ; so, choking with crying, I turned 
away from them, and re-entered the house, to the chorus 
of " Oh, thank you, missis ! God bless you, missis !" 

E , I think an improvement might be made upon that 

caricature published a short time ago, called the " Chival- 
ry of the South." I think an elegant young Carolinian 
or Georgian gentleman, whip in. hand, driving a gang of 
" lusty women," as they are called here, would be a pretty 
version of the " Chivalry of the South" — a little coarse, I 
am afraid you will say. Oh! quite horribly coarse, but 
then so true^a gi'eat matter in works of art, which now- 
adays appear to be thoiight excellent only in proportion 
to their/lack of ideal elevation. That would be a subject, 
and a treatment of it, which could not be accused of im- 
aginative exaggeration, at any rate. 

In the evening I mentioned the petitions of these poor 

women to Mr. O , thinking that perhaps he had the 

power to.lessen their tasks. He seemed evidently annoyed 
at their having appealed to me ; said that their work was 


not a bit too much for them, and that constantly they 
•were shamming themselves in the family-way in order to 
obtain a diminution of their labor. Poor creatures ! I 
suppose some of them do ; but, again, it must be a hard 
matter for those who do not, not to obtain the mitigation 
of their toil which their condition requires ; for their as- 
sertion and their evidence are never received : they can't 
be believed, even if they were upon oath, say their white 
taskmasters ; why ? because they have never been, taught 
the obligations of an oath, to whom made, or wherefore 
binding ; and they are punished both directly and indi- 
rectly for their moral ignorance, as if it were a natural 
and incorrigible element of their character, instead of the 
inevitable result of their miserable position. The oath of 
any and every scoundrelly fellow with a white skin is re- 
ceived, but not that of such a man as Frank/Ned, old Ja- 
cob, or Cooper London. 

Deaeest E , — I think it right to begin this letter 

with an account of a most prosperous fishing expedition 
Jack and I achieved the other morning. It is true we 
still occasionally drew up huge catfish, with their detest- 
able beards and spikes, but we also captivated some mag- 
nificent perch; and the Altamaha perch are worth one's 
while both to catch and to eat. On a tisit I had to make 
on the main' land the same day, I saw a tiny strip of gar- 
den ground, rescued from the sandy road called the street, 
perfectly filled with hyacinths, double jonquils, and snow- 
drops, a charming nosegay for Ffebruary 11. After leav- 
ing the boat on my return home, I encountered a curious 
creature Walking all sideways, a small cross between a 
lobster and a crab. One of the negroes to whom I ap- 
plied for its denomination informed me that it was a land- 
crab, with which general description of this very peculiar 


tnultipede you must be satisfied, for I can tell you no 
more. I went a little fartliei", as the nursery rhyme says, 
and met with a snake ; and, not being able to determine, 
at ignorant first sight, whether it was a malignant serpent 
or not, I ingloriously took to my heels, and came home on 
the full run. It is the first of these exceedingly displeas- 
ing animals I have encountered here ; but Jack, for my 
consolation, tells me that they abound on St. Simon's, 
whither we are going — "rattlesnakes, and all kinds," 
says he, with an affluence of promise in his tone that is 
quite agreeable. Rattlesnakes wiH be quite enough of a 
treat, without the vague horrors that may be comprised 
in the additional " all kinds." Jack's account of the game 
on St. Simon's is really quite tant^ilizing to me, who can 
not carry a gun any mpre than if I were a slave. He says 
that partridges, woodcocks, snipe, and wild duck abound,, 
so that,.at any rate, our table ought to be well supplied. 
His account of the bears that are still to be found in the 
woods of the main land is not so pleasant, though he says 
they do no harm to the people if they are not meddled 
with, but that they steal the corn from the fields when it 
is ripe, and actually swim the river to commit their dep- 
redations on the islands. It seems difBcult to believe this, 
looking at this wide and heavy stream, though, to be sure, 
I did once see a young horse swim, across the St. Law- 
rence, between Montreal and Quebec, a feat of natation 
which much enlarged my belief in what quadrupeds may 
accomplish when they have no choice between swimming 
and sinking. 

You can not im^ine how great a triumph the virtue 
next to godlinesa is making under my auspices and a 
judicious system of small bribery, I can hardly stir now 
without bfeing assailed with cries of " Missis, missis, me 
mind chile, me bery clean," or the additional gratifying 
fact, " and chile too, him beiy clean." This virtue, how-. 


ever, if painful to the practisers, as no doubt it is, is ex- 
pensive, too, to me, and I shall have to try some moral in- 
fluence equivalent in value to a cent current coin of the 
realm. What a poor chance, indeed, the poor abstract 
idea runs ! however, it is really a comfort to see the poor 
little woolly heads now, in most instances, stripped of 
their additional filthy artificial envelopes. 

In my afternoon's row to-day I passed a huge dead 
alligator, lying half in and half out of the muddy ^ime of 
the river bank — a most hideous object it was, and I 
was glad to turn my eyes to the beautiful surface of the 
mid stream, all burnished with sunset glories, and broken 
with the vivacious gambols of a school of porpoises. It 
is curious, I think, that these creatures should come fifteen 
miles from the sea to enliven the waters round our little 
rice swamp. 

While rowing this evening, I was led by my conversa- 
tion with Jack to some of those reflections with which 
my mind is naturally incessantly filled here, but which I 
am obliged to be very careful not to give any utterance 
to. The testimony of no negro is received in a Southern 
court of law, and the reason commonly adduced for this 
is, that the state of ignorance in which the negroes are 
necessarily kept renders them incapable of comprehending 
the obligations of an oath, and yet, with an inconsistency 
which might be said to border on efirontery, these same 
people are admitted to the most holy sacrament of the 
Church, and are certainly thereby supposed to be capable 
of assuming the highest Christian obligations, and the 
entire fulfillment of God's commandments, including, of 
course, the duty of speaking the truth at all times. 

As we were proceeding down the river, we met the 
flat, as it is called, a huge sort of clumsy boat, more like a 
raft than any other species of craft, coming up from St. 
Simon's with its usual swarthy freight of Mr. 's de- 


pendents from that place. I made Jack turn our canoe, 
because tie universal outcries and exclamations very dis- 
tinctly intimated that I should be expected to be at home 
to receive the homage of this cargo of " massa's people." 
No sooner, indeed, had I disembarked and reached the 
house, than a darlt cloud of black life filled the piazza and 
swarmed up the steps, and I had to shake hands, like a 
popular president, till iny arm ached at the shoulder-joint. 
Whep this tribe had dispersed itself, a very old •woman, 
with a remarkably intelligent, nice-looking young girl, 
came forward and claimed my attention. The old wom- 
an, who must, I think, by her appearance, have been near 
seventy, had been one of the house servants on St. Simon's 
Island in Major 's time, and retained a certain digni- 
fied courtesy and respectfulness ot manner which is by no 
means an uncommon attribute of the better class of slaves, 
whose intercourse with their masters, while tending to 
expand their intelligence, cultivates, at the same time, the 
natural turn for good manners which is, I think, a dis- 
tinctive, peculiarity of negroes, if not in the kingdom of 
Dahomey, certainly in the United States of America. If 
it can be for a moment attributed to the beneficent influ- 
ence of slavery on their natures (and I think slaveowners 
are quite likely to imagine so), it is curious enough that 
there is hardly any alloy whatever of cringing servility, 
or even humility, in the good manners of the blacks, but 
a rather courtly and affable condescension which, com- 
bined with their affection for, and misapplication of, long 
words, produces an exceedingly comical effect. Old House 
Molly, after congratulating herself, with many thanks to 
heaven, for having spared her to see " massa's" wife and 
children, drew forward her young companion, and in- 
formed me she was one of her numerous grandchildren. 
The damsel, ycleped Louisa, made rather a shamefaced 
obeisance, and her old grandmother went on to inform 


me that she had only lately been forgiven by the overseer 
for an attempt to run away from the plantation. I in- 
quired the cause of her desire to do so — a " thrashing" 
she had got for an unfinished task — " but lor, missis," ex- 
plained the old woman, " taint no use — what use nigger 
run away? — de swamp all round; dey get in dar, an' dey 
starve to def, or de snakes eat 'em up — massa's niggerj 
dey don't neber run away ;" and if the good lady's ac- 
count of their prospects in doing so is correct (which, 
substituting biting for eating on the part of the snakes, it 
undoubtedly is), one does not see eixactly what particular 

merit the institution of slavery as practiced on Mr. 's 

plantation derives from the fact that his "nigger don't 
neber run away." 

After dismissing Molly and her granddaughter, I was 
about to re-enter the house, when I was stopped by Bet- 
ty, head man Frank's wife, who came with a petition that 
she might be baptized. As usual with all requests in- 
volving any thing more than an immediate physical indul- 
gence, I promised to refer the matter to Mr. , but ex- 
pressed some surprise that Betty, now by no means a 
young woman, should have postponed a ceremony which 
the religious among the slaves are apt to attach much im- 
portance to. She told me she had more than once ap- 
plied for this permission to Massa K (the former over- 
seer), but had never been able to obtain it, but that now 
she thought she would ask " de missis."* 

* Of this woman's life on the plantation I subsequently learned the 
following circumstances : She was the wife of head man Frank, the 

most intelligent ajid trustworthy of Mr. ■ 's slaves ; the head driver 

— second in command to the overseer, and, indeed, second to none dur- 
ing the pestilential season, when the rice swamps can not with impuni- 
ty be inhabited by any white man, and when, therefore, the whole force 
employed in its cultivation on the island remains entirely under his 
authority and control. His wife^a tidy, trim, intelligent woman, with 
a pretty figure, but a decidedly negro face— was taken from him by the 


Yesterday afternoon I received a visit from the wife of 

our neighbor, Dr.T . As usual, she exclaimed at my 

good fortune in having a white woman with my children 

when she saw M , and, as usual, went on to expatiate 

on the utter impossibility of finding a trustworthy nurse 
any where in the South, to whom your children could be 
safely confided for a day or even an hour ; as usual, too, 
the causes of this unworthiness or incapacity for a confi- 
dential servant's occupation were ignored, and the fact 
laid to the natui'al defects of the negro race. I am sick 
and weary of this cruel and ignorant folly. This after- 
noon I went out to refresh myself with a row on the broad 
Altamaha and the conversation of my slave Jack, which 
is, I assure you^by no means devoid of interest of various 
kinds, pathetic and humorous., I do not know that Jack's 
scientific information is the most valuable in the world, 

overseer left in charge of the plantation by the Messrs. , the all-ef- 
ficient and all-satisfactory Mr. K , and she had a son by him, whose 

straight features and diluted color, no less than his troublesome, dis- 
contented, and insubmissive disposition, bear witness to his Yankee de- 
scent. I do not know how long Mr. K 's occupation of Frank's 

wife continued, or how the latter endured the wrong done to him. 
When I visited the island Betty was again living with her husband — a 
grave, sad, thoughtful-looking man, whose admirable moral and men- 
tal qualities were extolled to me by no worse a judge of such matters 

than Mr. K himself, during the few days he spent with Mr. , 

while we were on the plantation. This outrage upon this man's rights 
was perfectly notorious among all the slaves ; and his hopeful offspring, 
Eenty, alluding very unmistakably to his superior birth on one occasion 
when he applifed for permission to have a gun, observed that, though 
the people in general on the plantation were not allowed fire-arms, he 
thought he might, ore account of Us color, and added that he thought 

^^- K might have left him his. This precious sample of the mode 

in which the vices of the whites procure the intellectual progress of the 
blacks to their own endangerment was, as you will easily believe, a sig- 
nificant chapter to me in the black history of oppression which is laid 
before my eyes in this place. 


and I sometimes marvel with perhaps unjust incredulity 
at the facts in natural history which he imparts to me ; for 
instance, to-day he told me, as we rowed past certain mud 
islands, very like children's mud puddings on a rather 
larger scale than usual, that they were inaccessible, and 
that it would be quite impossible to land on one of them 
even for the shortest time. Not understanding why peo- 
ple who did not mind being up to their knees in mud 
should not land there if they pleased, I demurred'tb his 
assertion, when he followed it up by assuring me that 
there were what he called sand-sinks under the mud, and 
that whatever was placed on the surface would not only 
sink through the mud, but also into a mysterious quick- 
sand of unknown depth and 'extent below it. This may 
be true, but sounds very strange, although I remember 
that the frequent occurrence of large patches of quicksand 
was found to be one of the principal impediments in the * ' 
way of the canal speculators at Brunswick. I did not, 
however, hear that these sinks, as Jack called them, were 
found below a thick stratum of heavy mud. 

In remonstrating with him upon the want of decent 
cleanliness generally among the people, and citing to him 
one among the many evils resulting from it, the intolera- 
ble quantity of fleas in all the houses, he met me full with 
another fact in natural history which, if it be fact and not 
fiction, certainly gave him the best of the argument : he 
declared, with the utmost vehemence, that the sand of the 
pine woods on the main land across the river literally 
swarmed with fleas ; that, in the uninhabited places, the 
sand itself was full of them ; and that, so far from being a 
result of human habitation, they were found in less num- 
bers round the negro huts on the main^land than in the 
lonely woods around them. 

The plowing is at length fully inaugurated, and there 
is a regular jubilee among the negroes thereat. After 


discoursing fluently on the improvements likely to result 
from the measure, Jack -wound up by saying he had been 
afraid it would not be tried on account of the greater 
scarcity, and consequently greater value, of horses over 
men in these parts — a modest and slave-like conclusion. 

Deaekst E , — I walked up to-day, February lith, 

to see that land of promise, the plowed field : it did not 
look to me any thing like as heavy soil as the cold, wet, 
sour, stiff clay I have seen turned up in some of the swampy 
fields round Lenox ; and as for the cypress roots which 
were urged as so serious an impediment, they are not 
much more frequent, and certainly not as resisting, as the 
granite knees and elbows that stick out through the scanty 
covering of the said clay, which mother earth allows her- 
self as sole garment for her old bones in many a Berkshire 
patch of corn. After my survey, as I walked home, I 
came upon a gang of lusty women, as the phrase is here 
for women in the family- way ; they were engaged in burn- 
ing stubble, and I was nearly choked while receiving the 
multitudinous complaints and compliments with which 
they overwhelmed me. After leaving them, I wandered 
along the river side of the dike homeward, rejoicing in 
the buds and green things putting forth their tender 
shoots on every spray, in the early bees and. even the less 
amiable wasps busy in the sunshine with flowers (weeds 
I suppose they should be called), already opening their 
sweet temptations to them, and giving the earth a spring 
aspect, such as it does not wear with you in Massachusetts 
till late in May. 

In the afternoon I took my accustomed row : there had 
been a tremendous ebb tide, the consequence of which was 
to lay bare portions of the banks which I had not seen 
before. The cypress roots form a most extraordinary 


mass of intertwined -wood-work, so closely matted and 
joined together that the separate roots, in spite of their 
individual peculiarities, appeared only like divisions of a 
continuous body ; they presented the appearance in sev- 
eral places of jagged pieces of splintered rock, with their 
huge teeth pointing downward into the water. Their de- 
cay is so slow that the protection they afford the soft 
spongy banks against the action of the water is likely to 
be prolonged until the gathering and deposit of successive 
layers of alluvium will remove them from the margin of 
which they are now most useful supports. On my return 
home I was met by a child (as she seemed to me) carry- 
ing a baby, in whose behalf she begged me for some 
clothes. On making some inquiry, I was amazed to find 
that the child was her own : she said she was married, 
and fourteen years old; she looked much younger even 
than that, poor creature. Her mother, who came up while 
I was talking to her, said she did not herself know the 
girl's age; how horridly brutish it all did seem, to be 

The spring is already here with her hands full of flow- 
ers. I do not know who planted some straggling pyrus 
japonioa near the house, but it is blessing my eyes with 
a hundred little flame-like buds, which will presently burst 
into a blaze ; there are clumps of narcissus roots sending 
up sheaves of ivory blossoms, and I actually found a month- 
ly rose in bloom on the sunny side of one of the. dikes ; 
what a delight they are in the slovenly desolation of this 
abode of mine ! what a garden one might have on the 
banks of these dikes, with the least amount of trouble and 

In the afternoon I rowed over to Darien, and there pro- 
curing the most miserable vehicle calling itself a carriage 
that I had ever seen (the dirtiest and shabbiest London 
hackney-coach were a chariot of splendor and ease to it), 


■we drove some distance into th,e sandy wilderness that 
surrounds the little town, to pay a visit to some of the 
resident gentry who had called upon us. The i;oad was 
a deep, wearisome sandy track, stretching wearisomely 
into the wearisome pine forest — a species of wilderness 
more oppressive a thousand times to the senses and im- 
agination than any extent of monotonous prairie, barren 
steppe, or boundless desert can be ; for the horizon there 
at least invites and detains the eye, suggesting beyond its 
limit possible change ; the lights, and shadows, and en- 
chanting colors of the sky afford some variety in their 
movement and change, and the reflections of their tints ; 
while in this hideous and apparently boundless pine bar- 
ren you are deprived alike of horizon before you and heav- 
en above you : nor sun nor star appears through the thick 
covert, which, in the shabby dinginess of its dark blue- 
green expanse, looks like a gigantic cotton umbrella 
stretched immeasurably over you. It is true that over 
that sandy soil a dark green cotton umbrella is a very 
welcome protection from the sun, and when the wind 
makes music in the tall pine-tops and refreshment in the 
air beneath them. The comparison may seem ungrateful 
enough : to-day, however, there was neither sound above 
nor motion below, and the heat was perfectly stifling, as 
we plowed- our way through the resinous-smelling sand 

From time to time a thicket of exquisite evergreen 
shrubs broke the monotonous lines of the countless pine 
shafts rising round us, and still more welcome were the 
golden garlands of the exquisite wild jasmine, hanging, 
drooping, trailing, clinging, climbing through the dreary 
forest, joining to the warm aromatic smell of the fir-trees 
a delicious fragrance as of acres of heliotrope in bloom. 
I wonder if this delightful creature is very difficult of cul- 
tivation out of its natural region ; I never remember to 



have seen it, at least not in blossom, in any collection of 
plants in the Northern states or in Europe, where it cer- 
tainly deserves an honorahle place for its grace, beauty, 
and fragrance. 

On our drive we passed occasionally a tattered man or 
woman, whose yellow mud complexion, straight features, 
and singularly sinister countenance bespoke an entirely 
different race from the negro population in the midst of 
which they lived. These are the so-called pine-landers of 
Georgia, I suppose the most degraded race of human be- 
ings claiming an Anglo-Saxon origin that can be found on 
the face of the earth — filthy, lazy, ignorant, brutal, proud, 
penniless savages, without one of the nobler attributes 
which have been found occasionally allied to the vices of 
savage nature. They own no slaves, for they are almost 
without exception abjectly poor ; they wiU not work, for 
that, as they conceive, would reduce them to an equality 
with the abhorred negroes; they squat, and steal, and 
starve, on the outskirts of this lowest of all civilized soci- 
eties, and their countenances bear witness to the squalor 
of their condition and the utter degradation of their na- 
tures. To the crime of slavery, though they have no prof- 
itable part or lot in it, they are fiercely accessory, because 
it is the barrier that divides the black and white races, at 
the'which they lie wallowing in unspeakable deg- 
radation, tjut immensely proud of the base freedom which 
still separates them from the lash-driven tillers of the 

* Of such is the white family so wonderfully described in Mrs. 
Stowe's "Dred," whose only slave brings up the orphaned children of 
his masters with such exquisitely grotesque and pathetic tenderness. 
From such the conscription which has fed the Southern army in the 
deplorable civil conflict now raging in America has drawn its rank and 
file. Better "food for powder" the world could scarcely supply. 
Fierce and idle, with hardly one of the necessities or amenities that, 
belong to civilized existence, they are hardy endurers of hardship, and 


The house at which- our call was paid was set down in 
the midst of the Pine Barren, with half-obliterated roads 
and paths round it, suggesting that it might he visited 
and was inhabited. It was large and not unhandsome, 
though curiously dilapidated, considering that people were 
actually living in it ; certain remnants of carving on the 
cornices and paint on the panels bore witness to some 
former stage of existence less neglected and deteriorated 
than the present. The old lady mistress of this most for- 
lorn abode amiably inquired if so much exercise did not 
fatigue me ; at first I thought she imagined I must have 
walked through the piife forest all the way from Darien, 
but she explained that she considered the drive quite an 
effort ; and it is by no means uncommon to hear people in 
America talk of being dragged over bad roads in uneasy 
carriages as exercise, showing how very little they know 
the meaning of the word, and how completely they iden- 
tify it with the idea of mere painful fatigue instead of 
jlJeasurable exertion. 

Returning home, my reflections ran much on the possi- 
ble future destiny of these vast tracts of sandy soil. It 
seems to me that the ground capable of supporting the 
evergreen growth, the luxuriant gardinia bushes, the bay 
myrtle, the beautiful magnolia grandiflora, and the power- 
ful and gnarled live oaks, that find their sustenance in this 

reckless to a savage degree of the value of life, whether their own or 
others. The soldier's pay, received or promised, exceeds in amount 
per month any thing they ever earned before per year, and the war 
they wage is one that enlists all their proud and ferocious instincts. 
It is against the Yankees — the Northern sons of free soil, free toil and 
intelligence, the hated Abolitionists whose success would sweep away 
slavery and reduce the Southern white men to work — no wonder they 
are ready to fight to the death against this detestable alternative, es- 
pecially as they look to victory as the certain promotion of the refuse 
of the "poor white" population of the South, ofwhich they are one and 
all members, to the coveted dignity of slaveholders. 

148 JOUENAL or 

earth and under this same sky as the fir-trees, must be 
convertible into a prosperous habitation for other valua- 
ble vegetable growth that -would add immensely to the 
wealth of the Southern states. The orange thrives and 
bears profusely along this part of the sea-board of Geor- 
gia ; and I can not conceive that the olive,'the mulberry, 
and the vine might not be acclimated, and successfully 
and profitably cultivated throughout the whole of this re- 
gion, the swampy lower lands alone remaining as rice plan- 
tations. The produce of these already exceeds in value 
that of the once gold-growing cotton-fields ; and I can not 
help believing that silk, and wine", and oil may, and will, 
hereafter become, with the present solitary cotton crop, 
joint possessors of all this now. but half-reclaimed wilder- 
ness. The soil all round Sorrento is very nearly as hght, 
and dry, and sandy as this, and vineyards, and olive or- 
chards, and cocooneries are part of the agricultural wealth 
there. Our neighbor, Mr. C , has successfully culti- 
vated the date-palm in his garden on the edge of the sea 
at St. Simon's, and certainly the ilex, orange, and myrtle 
abounding here suggest natural affinities between the 
Italian soil and climate and this. 

I'must tell you something funny which occurred yester- 
day at dinner, which will give you some idea of the strange 
mode in which we live. We have now not unfrequently 
had mutton at table, the flavor of which is quite excellent, 
as indeed it may well be, for it is raised under all the con- 
ditions of the famous Pr^ salS that the French gourmands 
especially prize, and which are reproduced on our side of 
the Channel in the peculiar qualities of our best South 
Down. The mutton we have here grazes on the short 
sweet grass at St. Simon's within sea-salt influence, and is 
some of the very best I have ever tasted, but it is invari- 
ably brought to table in lumps or chunks of no particular 
shape or size, and in which it is utterly impossible to ree- 


, ognize any part of the quadruped creature sheep with 
which my eyes have hitherto hecome acquainted. Eat it, 
one may and does thankfully ; name it, one coul^ not by 
any possibility. Having submitted to this for some time, 
I at length inquired why a decent usual Christian joint of 
mutton^eg, shoulder, or saddle^was never brought to 
table : the reply was that the carpenter always cut up the 
meat, and that he did not know how to do it otherwise 
than by dividing it into so many thick square pieces, and 
proceeding to chop it up on that principle"; and the con- 
sequence of this is, that/bwr lumps or chunks are all that 
a whole sheep ever furnishes to our table by this artistic 
and economical process. 

This morning I have been to the hospital to see a poor 

woman who has just enriched Mr. by ioming him 

another slave. The poor little pickaninny, as they called 
it, was not one bit uglier than white babies under similar- 
ly novel circumstances, except in one particular, that it 
}iad a head of hair like a trunk, in spite of which I had all 
the pains in the world in persuading its mother not to put 
a cap upon it. I bribed her finally by the promise of a 
pair of socks instead, with which I undertook to endow 
her child, and, moreover, actually prevailed upon her to 
forego the usual swaddling and swathing process, and let 
her poor baby be dressed at its first entrance into life as 
I assured her both mine had been. 

On leaving the hospital I visited the huts all along the 
street, confiscating sundry refractory baby caps among 
shrieks and outcries, partly of laughter and partly of real 
ignorant alarm for the consequences. I think, if this in- 
fatuation for hot head-dresses continues, I shall make 
shaving the children's heads the only condition upon 
which they shall be allowed to wear caps. 

On Sunday morning I went over to Darien to church. 
Our people's church was closed, the minister having gone 


to officiate elsewhere. "With laudable liberality, I walked 
into the opposite church of a different, not to say opposite 
sect : here I heard a sermon, the opening of which will 
probably edify you as it did me, -viz., that if ^ man was 
just in all Ms deaiingSfhe was apt to think he did all that 
could be required of him — and no wide mistake either, 
one might suppose. But is it not wonderful how such 
words can be spoken here, with the most absolute uncon- 
sciousness oftheir tremendous bearing upon the existence 
of every slaveholder who hears them ? Certainly the use 
that is second nature has made the awful injustice in the 
daily practice of which these people live a thing of which 
they are as little aware as you or I of the atmospheric air 
that we inhale each time we breathe. The bulk of the 
congregation in this church was white. The negroes are, 
of course, not allowed to mix with their masters in the 
house of God, and there is no special place set apart for 
them. Occasionally one or two are to be seen in the cor- 
ners of the singing gallery, but any more open pollution 
by them of their owners' church could not be tolerated. 

Mr. 's people have petitioned very vehemently that 

he would build a church for them on the island. I doubt, 
however, his allowing them such a luxury as a place of 
worship all to themselves. Such a privilege might not be 
thought well of by the neighboring planters; indeed, it is 
almost what one might call a whity-brown idea, danger- 
ous, demoralizing, inflammatory, incendiary. I should not 
wonder if I should be suspected of being the chief corner- 
stone of it, and yet I am not : it is an old hope and en- 
treaty of these poor people, which I am afraid they are 
not destined to see fulfilled. 


Deaeest E , — Passing the rice mill this morning in 

my walk, I went in to look at the machinery, the large 
steam mortars which shell the rice, and which work under 
the intelligent and reliable supervision of Engineer Ned. 
I was much surprised, in the course of conversation with 
him this morning, to iind how much older a man he was 
than he appeaxed. Indeed, his youthful appearance had 
hitherto puzzled me much in accounting for his very su- 
perior intelligence and the important duties confided to 
him. He is, however, a man upward of forty years old, 
although he looks ten years younger. He attributed his 
own uncommonly youthful appearance to the fact of his 
never having done what he called field-work, or been ex- 
posed, as the common gang negroes are, to the hardships 
of their all but brutish existence. He said his former 
master had brought him up very kindly, and he had learned 
to tend the engines, and had never been put to any, other 
work, but he said this was not the case with his poor wife. 
He wished she was as well off as he was, but she had to 
work in the rice-fields, and was "most broke in two" with 
labor, and exposure, and hard work while with child, and 
hard work just directly after childbearing ; he said she 
could hardly crawl, and he urged me very much to speak 
a kind word for her to massa. She was almost all the 
time in hospital, and he thought she could not live long. 

Now, E , here is another instance of the horrible in- 
justice of this system of slavery. In my country or in 
yours, a man endowed jwith sufficient knowledge and ca- 
pacity to be an engineer would, of course, be in the re- 
ceipt of considerable wages; his wife would, together 
with himself, reap the advantages of his ability, and share 
the well-being his labor earned ; he would be able to pro- 
cure for her comfort in sickness or in health, and beyond 
the necessary household work, which the wives of most 


artisans are inured to, she -would have no labor to en- 
counter; in case of sickness even these would be alle- 
viated by the assistance of some stout girl of all work or 
kindly neighbcir, and the tidy parlor or snug bedroom 
would be hei- retreat if unequal to the daily duties of her 
own kitchen. Think of such a lot compared with that of 

the head engineer of Mr. 's plantation, whose sole 

wages are his coarse food and raiment and miserable 
hovel, and whose wife, covered with one filthy garment 
of ragged texture and dingy color, barefooted and bare- 
headed, is daily driven afield to labor with aching pain- 
racked joints, under the lash of a driver, or lies languish- 
ing on the earthen floor of the dismal plantation hospital 
in a condition of utter physical destitution and degrada- 
tion such as the most miserable dwelling of the poorest 
inhabitant of your free Northern villages never beheld 
the like of. Think of the rows of tidy tiny houses in the 
long suburbs of Boston and Philadelphia, inhabited by 
artisans of just the same grade as this poor Ned, with 
their white doors and steps, their hydrants of inexhausti- 
ble fresh flowing water, the innumerable appliances for 
decent comfort of their cheerful rooms, the gay wardrobe 
of the wife, her cotton prints for daily use, her silk for 
Sunday church-going ; the careful comfort of the chil- 
dren's clothing, the books and newspapers in the little 
parlor, the daily district school, the weekly parish church: 
imagine if you can — but you are happy that you can not 
— the contrast between such an existence and that of the 
best mechanic on a Southern plantation. 

Did you ever read (but I am sure you never did, and 
no more did I) an epic poem on fresh-water fish ? Well, 
such a one was once written, I have forgotten by whom, 
but assuredly the heroine of it ought to have been the 
Altamaha shad — a delicate creature, so superior to the 
animal you Northerners devour with greedy thankfulness 


when the spring sends back their finny drove to your 
colder .waters, that one would not suppose these were of 
the same family, instead of being, as they really are, pre- 
cisely the same fish. Certainly the mud of the Altamaha 
must have some most peculiar virtues ; and, by-the-by, I 
have never any where tasted such dehcious tea as that 
which we make with this same turbid stream, the water 
of which, duly filtered of course, has some peculiar soft- 
ness which affects the tea (and^ it is the same we always 
use) in a most curious and agreeable manner. 

On my return to the house I found a terrible disturb- 
ance in consequence of the disappearance from under cook 

John's safe keeping of a ham Mr. had committed to 

his charge. There was no doubt whatever that the un- 
fortunate culinary slave had made away in some inscrut- 
able manner with the joint intended for our table : the 
very lies he told about it were so curiously shallow, child- 
like, and transparent, that while they confirmed the fact 
of his theft quite as much, if not more, than an absolute 
confession would have done, they provoked at once my 
pity and my irrepressible mirth to a most painful degree. 
Mr. was in a state of towering anger and indigna- 
tion, and, besides a flogging, sentenced the unhappy cook 
to degradation from his high and dignified position (and, 
alas ! all its sweets of comparatively easy labor and good 
living from the remains of our table) to the hard toil, 
coarse scanty fare, and despised position of a common 
field-hand. I suppose some punishment was inevitably 
necessary in such a plain case of deliberate theft as this, 
but, nevertheless, my whole soul revolts at the injustice 
of visiting upon these poor wretches a moral darkness 
which ay possible means are taken to increase and per- 

In speaking of this and the whole circumstance of 

John's trespass to Mr. in the evening, I observed 



that the ignorance of these poor people ought to screen 
them from punishment." He replied that they knew well 
enough what was right and wrong. I asked how they 
could he expected to know it ? He replied, by the means 
of Cooper London, and the religious instruction he gave 
them. So that, after all, the appeal is to be made against 
themselves to that moral and religious instruction which 
is withheld from them, and which, if they obtain it at. all, 
is the result of their own unaided and unencouraged ex- 
ertion. The more I hear, and see, and learn, and ponder 
the whole of this system' of slavery, the more impossible 
I find it to conceive how its practisers and upholders are 
to justify their deeds before the tribunal of their own con- 
science or God's law. It is too dreadful to have those 
whom we love accomplices to this wickedness ; it is too 
intolerable to find myself an involuntary accomplice to it. 
I had a conversation the next morning with Abraham, 
cook John's brother, upon the subject of his brother's 
theft ; and only think of the slave B&jmq, that " this ac- 
tion had brought disgrace upon the family." Does not 
that sound very like the very best sort of free pride, the 
pride of character, the honorable pride of honesty, integ- 
rity, and fidelity ? But this was not all, for this same 
Abraham, a clever carpenter and much valued hand on 
the estate, went on, in answer to my questions, to teU me 
such a story that I declare to you I felt as if I could have 
howled with helpless indignation and grief when he de- 
parted and went to resume his work. His grandfather 
had been an old slave in Darien, extremely clever as a car- 
penter, and so highly valued for his skill and good char- 
acter that his master allowed him to purchase his liberty 
by money which he earned by working for himself at odd 
times, when his task-work was over. I asked Abraham 
what sum his grandfather paid for his freedom: he said 
he did not know, but he supposed a large one, because of 


His being a " skilled carpenter," and so a peculiarly valu- 
able chattel. I presume, from what I remember Major 
M and Dr. H saying on tie subject of the mar- 
ket value of negroes in Charleston and Savannah, that 
such a man in the prime of life would have been worth 
from 1500 to 2000 dollars. However, whatever the man 
paid for his ransom, by his grandson's account, fourteen 
years after he became free, when he died, he had again 
amassed money to the amount of 700 dollars, which he 
left among his wife and children, the former being a slave 
on Major 's estate, where the latter remained by vir- 
tue of that fact slaves also. So this man not only bought 
his own freedom at a cost of ai least 1000 dollars, but left 
a little fortune of 700 more at his death ; and then we are 
told of the nniversaljidleness, incorrigible sloth, and brut- 
ish incapacity of this inferior race of creatures, whose only 
fitting and Heaven-appointed condition is that of beasts 
of burden to the whites. I do not believe the whole low 
white population of the State of Georgia could furnish 
such an instance of energy, industry, and thrift as the 
amassing of this laborious little fortune by this poor slave, 
who left, nevertheless, his children and grandchildren to 
■the lot from which he had so heroically ransomed himself; 
and yet the white men with whom I live and talk tell me, 
day after day, that there is neither cruelty nor injustice 
in this accursed system. 

About half past five I went to walk on the dikes, and 
met a gang of the field-hands going to the tide-mill, as the 
water served them for working then, I believe I have 
told you that besides the great steam mill there is this, 
which is dependent on the rise and fall of the tide in the 
river, and where the people are therefore obliged to work 
by day or night, at whatever time the water serves to 
impel the wheel. They greeted me with their usual pro- 
fusion of exclamations, petitions, and benedictions, and I 


parted from them to come and oversee my slave Jact, for 
whom I had bought a spade, and to whom I had intrust- 
ed the task of turning up some ground for me, in which I 
wanted to establish some of the narcissus and other flow- 
ers I had remarked about the ground and the house. 
Jack, however, was a worse digger than Adam could 
have been when first he turned his hand to it, after his 
expulsion from Paradise. I think I could have managed 
a spade with infinitely more efficiency, or rather less in- 
capacity, than he displayed. Upon my expressing my 
amazement at his performance, he said the people here 
never used spades, but performed all their agricultural 
operations with the hoe. Their soil must be very light 
and their agriculture very superficial, I should think. 
However, I was obliged to terminate Jack's spooning 
process, and abandon, for the present, my hopes of a flow- 
er-bed created by his industry, being called into the house 

to receive the return visit of old Mrs. S . As usual, 

the appearance, health, vigor, and good management of 
the children were the theme of wandering admiration ; 
as usual, my possession of a white nurse the theme of 
envious congratulation ; as usual, I had to hear the ha- 
bitual senseless complaints of the inefficiency of colored 
nurses. If you are half as tired of the sameness and stu- 
pidity of the conversation of my Southern female neigh- 
bors as I am, I pity you ; but not as much as I pity them 
for the stupid sameness of their most vapid existence, 
which would deaden any amount of intelligence, obliter- 
ate any amount of instruction, and render toi"pid and stag- 
nant any amount of natural energy and vivacity. I would 
rather die — ^rather a thousand times — ^than live the lives 
of these Georgia planters' wives and daughters. 

Mrs. S had brought me some of the delicious wild 

jasmine that festoons her dreary pine-Wood drive, and 
most grateful I was for the presence of the sweet wild 


nosegay in my highly unornamental residence. When 
my visitors had left me, I took the refreshment of a row- 
over to Darien ; and as we had the* tide against us com- 
ing back, the process was not so refreshing for the row- 
ers. The evening was so extremely beautiful, and the 
rising of the moon so exquisite, that instead of retreating 
to the house when I reached the island, I got into the 
Dolphin, my special canoe, and made Jack paddle me 
down the great river to meet the Lily, which was coming 

back from St. Simon's with Mr. , who has been pre- 

' paring all things for our advent thither. 

My letter has been interrupted, dear E , by the 

breaking up of our residence on the rice plantation, and 
our arrival at St. Simon's, whence I now address you. 
We came down yesterday afternoon, and I was thankful 
enough of the fifteen miles' row to rest in, from the labor 
of leave-taking, with which the whole morning was taken 
up, and which, combined wij^ packing and preparing all 
our own personalities and those of the children, was no 
sinecure. At every moment one or other of the poor peo- 
ple rushed in upon me to bid me good-by ; many of their 
farewells were grotesque enough, some were pathetic, and 
all of them made me very sad. Poor people ! how little 
I have done, how little I can do for them. I had a long 
talk with that interesting and excellent man. Cooper Lon- 
don, who made an earnest petition that I would send him 
from the North a lot of Bibles and Prayer-books ; cer- 
tainly the science of reading must be much more common 
among the negroes than I supposed, or London must look 
to a marvelously increased spread of the same hereafter. 
There is, however, considerable reticence upon this pomt, 
or else the poor slaves must consider the mere possession 
of the holy books as good for salvation and as effectual 
for spiritual assistance to those who can not as to those 
who can comprehend them. Since the news of our de- 


parture has spread, I have had repeated eager entreaties 
for presents of Bibles and Prayer-hooTss, and to my de- 
murrer of " But you can't read, can you ?" have generally 
received for answer a reluctant acknowledgment of igno- 
rance, which, however, did not always convince me of the 
fact. In my farewell conversation with London I found 
it impossible to get him to tell me how he had learned to 
read : the penalties for teaching them are very severe — 
heavy fines, increasing in amount for the first and second 
ofiense, and imprisonment for the third.* Such a man as 
London is certainly aware that to teach the slaves to read 
is an illegal act, and he may have been unwilling to beti'ay 
whoever had been his preceptor even to my knowledge ; 
at any rate, I got no answers from him but " Well, missis, 
me learn ; well, missisj me try;" and finally, " Well, missis, 
me 'spose Heaven help me ;" to which I could only reply 
that I knew Heaven was helpful, but very hardly to the 
tune of teaching folks their letters. I got no satisfaction. 
Old Jacob, the father of Abraham, cook John, and poor 
Psyche's husband, took a most solemn and sad leave of 
me, saying he did not expect ever to see me again. I 
could not exactly tell why, because, though he is aged and 
infirm, the fifteen mUes between the rice plantation and 
St. Simon's do not appear so insuperable-a barrier between 
the inhabitants of the two places, which I represented to 
him as a suggestion of consolation. 

I have worked my fingers nearly oflT with making, for 
the last day or two, innumerable rolls of coarse little baby- 
clothes, layettes for the use of small new-born slaves; 

* These laws have been greatly increased in stringency and severity 
since these letters were written, and death has not been reckoned too 
heavy a penalty for those who should venture to offer these unfortunate 
people the fruit of that forbidden tree of knowledge, their access to 
which has appeared to their owners, the crowning danger of their own 
precarious existence among their terrible dependents. 


M diligently cuttipg and shaping, and I as diligently- 
stitching. We leave a good supply for the hospitals, and 
for the individual clients besides who have besieged me 
ever since my departure became imminent. 

Our voyage from the rice to the cotton plantation was 
performed in the Lily, which looked like a soldier's bag- 
gage-wagon and an emigrant transport combined. Our 
crew consisted of eight men. Forward in the bow were 
miscellaneous live-stock, pots, pans, household furniture, 
kitchen utensils, and an indescribable variety of hetero- 
geneous necessaries. Enthroned upon beds, bedding, ta- 
bles, and other chattels, sat that poor pretty chattel 
Psyche, with her small chattel children. Midships sat 
the two tiny free women and myself, and in the stern Mr. 

steering. And " all in the blue unclouded weather" 

we rowed down the huge stream, the men keeping time 
and tune to their oars with extemporaneous chants of 
adieu to the rice-island and its denizensj Among other 
poetical and musical comments on our departure recurred 
the assertion, as a sort of burden, that we were " parted 
in body, but not in mind," from, those we left behind. 
Having relieved^ one seT of sentiments by this reflectioti, 
they very wisely betook themselves to the consideration 
of the blessings that remained to them, and performed a 
spirited chant in honor of Psyche and our bouncing black 
housemaid, Mary. 

At the end of a fifteen miles' row we entered one among 
a perfect labyrinth of arms or branches, into which the 
broad river ravels like a fringe as it reaches the sea, a dis- 
mal navigation along a dismal tract, called " Five Pound," 
through a narrow cut or channel of water divided from 
the main stream. The conch was sounded, as at our arri- 
val at the rice-island, and we made our descent on the 
famous long staple cotton island of St. Simon's, where we 
presently took up our abode in what had all the appear- 
ance of an old, half-decayed, rattling farm-house. 

160 JOUENAL 01" 

This morning, Sunday, I peeped round its inimediate 
neighborhood, and saw, to my inexpressiWe delight, with- 
in haU, some noble-looking evergreen oaks, and close to 
the house itself a tiny would-be garden, a plot of ground 
with one or two peach-trees in full blossom, tufts of silver 
narcissus and jonquils, a quantity of violets and an exqui- 
site myrtle bush ; wherefore I said my prayers with es- 
pecial gratitude. 

Deaeest E , — The fame of my peculiar requisitions 

has, I find, preceded me here, for the babies that have been 
presented to my admiring notice have all been without 
caps ; also, however, without socks to their opposite little 
wretched extremities, but that does not signify quite so 
much. The people, too, that I saw yesterday were re- 
markably clean and tidy ; to be sure, it was Sunday. The 
whole day, till quite late in the afternoon, the house was 
surrounded by a crowd of our poor dependents, waiting 

to catch a glimpse of Mr. , myself, or the children ; 

and until, from sheer weariness, I was obliged to shut the 
doors, an incessant stream poured in and out, whose vari- 
ous modes of salutation, greeting, and welcome were more 
grotesque and pathetic at the same time than any thing 

you can imagine. In the afternoon I walked with to 

see a new house in process of erection, which, when it is 
finished, is to be the overseer's abode and our residence 
during any future visits we may pay to the estate. I Was 
horrified at the dismal site selected," and the hideous house 
erected on it. It is true that the central position is the 
principal consideration in the overseer's location ; but both 
position and building seemed to me to witness to an invet- 
erate love of ugliness, or, at any rate, a deadness to every 
desire of beauty, nothing short of horrible; and, for my 
own part, I think it is intolerable to have to leave the 


point where the waters meet, and where a few fine pictur- 
esque old trees are scattered about, to come to this place 
even for the very short time I am ever likely to spend 

In every direction our view, as we returned, was bound- 
ed by thickets of the most beautiful and various evergreen 
growth, which beckoned my inexperience most irresisti- 
bly. — — said, to my unutterable horror, that they were 
perfectly infested with rattlesnakes, and I must on no ac- 
count go " beating about the bush" in these latitudes^ as 
the game I should be likely to start would be any thing 
but agreeable to me. We saw quantities of wUd plum- 
trees all silvery with blossoms, and in lovely companion- 
ship and contrast with them a beautiful shrub covered 
with delicate pink bloom like flowering peach-trees. Aft- 
er that life in the rice-swamp, where the Altamaha kept 
looking over the dike at me all the time as I sat in the 
house writing or working, it is pleasant to be on terra 
firma again, and to know that the river is at the conven- 
tional, not to say natural, depth below its banks, and un- 
der my feet instead of over my head. The two planta- 
tions are of diametrically opposite dispositions — tbat is all 
swamp, apd this all sand ; or, to speak more accurately, 
that is all swamp, and all of this that is not swamp is sand. 

On our way home we met a most extraordinary crea- 
ture of the negro kind, who, coming toward us, halted, 
and caused us to halt straight in the middle of the path, 
when, bending himself down till his hands almost touched 

the ground, he exclaimed to Mr. , " Massa , your 

most obedient ;" and then, with a kick and a flourish al- 
together indescribable, he drew to the side of the path to 
let us pass, which we did perfectly shouting with laugh- 
ter, which broke out again every time we looked at each 
other and stopped to take breath : so sudden, grotesque, 
uncouth, and yet dexterous a gambado never came into 


the brain or out of the limbs of any thing but a " nlg- 

I observed, among the numerous groups that we passed 
or met, a much larger proportion of mulattoes than at the 

rice-island ; upon asking Mr. why this was so, he said 

that there no white person could land without his or the 
overseer's permission, whereas on St. Simon's, which is a 
large island containing several plantations belonging to 
different owners, of course the number of whites, both re- 
siding on and visiting the place, was much greater, and 
the opportunity for intercourse between the blacks and 
whites much more frequent. While we were still on this 
subject, a horrid-looking filthy woman met us with a little 
child in her arms, a very light mulatto, whose extraordi- 
nary resemblance to Driver Bran (one of the officials who 
had been duly presented to me on my arrival, and who 
was himself a mulatto) struck me directly. I pointed it 

out to Mr. =, who merely answered, " Very likely his 

child." " And," said I, " did you never remark that Driver 

Bran is the exact image of Mr. K ?" " Very likely 

his brother," was the reply : all which rather unpleasant 
state o^relationships seemed accepted as such a complete 
matter of course, that I felt rather uncomfortable^ and said 
no more about who was like who, but came to certain con- 
clusions in my own mind as to a young lad who had been 
among our morning visitors, and whose extremely light 
color and straight, handsome features and striking resem- 
blance to Mr. K had suggested suspicions of a rather 

unpleasant nature to me, and whose sole-acknowledged 
parent was a very black negress of the name of Minda. I 
have no doubt at all, now, that he is another son of Mr. 
K , Mr. 's paragon overseer. 

As we drew near the house again we were gradually 

joined by such a numerous escort of Mr. ^s slaves 

that it was almost with difficulty we could walk along the 


path. They buzzed, and hummed, and swarmed round us 
like flies, and the heat and dust consequent upon this 
friendly companionship were a most unpleasant addition 
to the labor of walking in the sandy soil through which 
we were plowing. I was not sorry when we entered the 
house and left our body-guard outside. In the evening I 
looked over the pla,n of the delightful residence I had vis- 
ited in the morning, and could not help suggesting to Mr. 

the advantage! to be gained in point of picturesque- 

ness by merely turning the. house round. It is but a 
wooden frame one after all, and your folks " down East" 
would think no more of inviting it to face about than if 
it was built of cards ; but the fact is, here nothing signi- 
fies except the cotton crop, and whether one's nose is in a 
swamp and one's eyes in a sand-heap is of no consequence 
whatever either to one's self (if one's self was not I) or 
any one else. 

I find here an immense proportion of old people ; the 
work and the climate of the rice plantation require the 
strongest of the able-bodied men and women of the estate. 
The cotton crop is no longer by any means as paramount 
in value as it used to be, and the climate, soil, and labor 
of St. Simon's are better adapted to old, young, and feeble 
cultivators than the swamp fields of the rice-isla,nd. I 
wonder if I ever told you of the enormous de&rease in 
value of this same famous sea-island long staple cotton. 

When Major , Mr. 's grandfather, first sent the 

produce of this plantation where we now are to England, 
it was of so fine a quality that it used to be quoted by it- 
self in the Liverpool cotton market, and was then worth 
half a guinea a pound ; it is now not worth a shilling a 
pound. This was told me by the gentleman in Liverpool 
who has been factor for this estate for thirty years. Such 
a decrease as this in the value of one's crop, and the steady 
increase at the same time of a slave population, now num- 


bering between "^OO and 800 bodies to clothe and house, 
mouths to feed, while the land is being exhausted by the 
careless and wasteful nature of the agriculture itself, sug- 
gests a pretty serious prospect of declining prosperity ; 
and, indeed, unless these Georgia cotton-planters can com- 
mand more land, or lay abundant capital (which they have 
not, being almost all of them over head and ears in. debt) 
upon that which has already spent its virgin vigor, it is a 
very obvious thing that they must all very soon be eaten 
up by their own property. The rice plantations are a 
great thing to fall back upon under these circumstances, 
and the rice crop is now quite as valuable, if not more so, 

than the cotton one on Mr. 's estates, once so famous 

and prosperous through the latter. 

I find any number of all but superannuated men and 
women here, whose tales of the former grandeur of the 
estate and family are like things one reads of in novels. 
One old woman, who crawled to see me, and could hardly 
lift her poor bowed head high enough to look in my face, 

had been in Major 's 'establishment in Philadelphia, 

and told with infinite pride of having waited upon his 

daughters and granddaughters, Mr. 's sisters. Yet 

here she is, flung by like an old rag, crippled with age and 
disease, living, or rather dying by slow degrees in a mis- 
erable hovel, such as no decent household servant would 
at the North, I suppose, ever set their foot in. The poor 
old creature complained bitterly to me of all her ailments 
and all her wants. I can do little, alas ! for either. I had 
a visit from another tottering old crone called Dorcas, who 
all but went on her knees as she wrung and kissed my 
hands ; with her came my friend Molly, the grandmother 
of the poor runaway girl Louisa, whose story I wrote you 
some little time ago. I had to hear it all over again, it 
being the newest event evidently in'Molly's life ; and it 
ended as before M'ith the highly reasonable proposition : 


" Me say, missis, what for massa's niggar run away ? Snake 
eat 'em up, or dey starve to def in a swamp. Massa's nig- 
gars dey don't neber run away." If I was " massa's nig- 
gars," I " spose" I shouldn't run away either, with only 
those alternatives ; but when I look at these wretches and 
at the sea that rolls round this island, and think how near 
the English West Indies and freedom are, it gives me a 
pretty severe twinge at the heart. 

Deaeest E , — ^I am afraid my letters must be be- 
coming very wearisome to you ; for if, as the copy-book 
runs, " Variety is charming," they certainly can not be so 
unless monotony is also charming, a thing not impossible 
to' some minds, but of which the copybook make's no men- 
tion. But what will you ? as the French say ; my days 
are no more different from one another than peas in a 
dish, or sands on the shore: 'tis a pleasant enough life to 
live for one who, like myself, has a passion for dullness, 
but it affords small matter for epistolary correspondence. 
I suppose it is the surfeit of excitement that I had in my 
youth that has made a life of quiet monotony so extreme- 
ly agreeable to me ; it is like stillness after loud noise, 
twilight after glare, rest after labor. There is enough 
strangeness, too, in every thing that surrounds me here to 
interest and excite me agreeably and sufficiently, and I 
should like the wild savage loneliness of the far away ex- 
istence extremely if it were not for the one small item of 
" the slavery." 

I had a curious visit this morning from half a dozen 
of the women, among whom were Driver Morris's wife 
and Venus (a hideous old gooddess she was, to be sure), 
Driver Bran's mother. They came especially to see the 
children, who are always eagerly asked for, and hugely 
admired by their sooty dependents. These poor women 


■went into ecstasies over the little white pickaninnies, and 
were loud and profuse in their expressions of gratitude to 

Massa for getting married and having children, a 

matter of thankfulness which, though it always makes me 
laugh very much, is a most serious one to them ; fot the 
continuance of the family keeps the estate and slaves from 
the hammer, and the poor -wretches, besides seeing in every 
new child born to their owners a security against their 
own banishment from the only home they know, and sep- 
aration from all ties of kindred and habit, and dispersion 
to distant plantations, not unnaturally look for a milder 
rule from masters who are the children of their fathers' 
masters. The relation of owner and slave may be ex- 
pected to lose some of its harsher features, and, no doubt, 
in some instances, dtjes so, when it is on each side the in- 
heritance of successive generations. And so 's slaves 

laud, and applaud, and thank, and bless him for having 
married, and endowed their children with two little future 
mistresses. One of these women, a Diana by name, went 
down on her knees, and uttered in a loud voice a sort of 
extemporaneous prayer of thanksgiving at our advent, in 
which the sacred and the profane were most ludicrously 
mingled : her " tanks to de good Lord God Almighty that 
missus had come, what give de poor niggar sugar and flan- 
nel," and dat " Massa , him hab brought de missis and 

de two little misses down among de people," were really 
too grotesque, and yet certainly more sincere acts of thanks:- 
giving are not often uttered among the solemn and decor- 
ous ones that are offered up to. heaven for " benefits re- 

I find the people here much more inclined to talk than 
those on the rice-island; they have less to do and more 
leisure, and bestow it very liberally on me ; moreover, the 
poor old women, of whom there are so many turned out 
to grass here, and of whom I have spoken to you before, 


though they are past work, are by no means past gossip, 
and the stories they have to tell of the former government 

of the estate under old Massa K are certainly pretty 

tremendous illustrations of the merits of slavery as a moral 
institution. This man, the father of the late owner, Mr, 

R K , was Major 's agent in the management 

of this property, and a more cruel and unscrupulous one 
as ^'egavds the slaves themselves, whatever he may have 
been in his dealings with the master, I should think it 
would be difficult to find, even among the cruel and un- 
scrupulous class to which he belonged. 

In a conversation with old " House Molly," as she is 
called, to distinguish her from all other Mollies on the es- 
tate, she having had the honor of being a servant in Ma- 
jor 's house for many years, I asked her if the rela- 
tion between men and women who are what they call mar- 
ried, i. e., who have agreed to live together as man and 
wife (the only species of marriage formerly allowed on the 
estate, I believe now London may read the Marriage Serv- 
ice to them), was considered binding by the people them- 
selves and by the overseer. She said " not much former- 
ly," and that the people couldn't be expected to have 
much regard to such an engagement, utterly ignored as 

it was by Mr. K , whose invariable rule, if he heard ©f 

any disagreement between a man and woman calling them- 
selves married, was immediately to bestow them in " mar- 
riage" on other parties, whether they chose it or not, by 
which summary process the slightest "incompatibility of 
temper" received the relief of a divorce more rapid and 
easy than even Germany could afford, and the estate lost 
nothing by any prolongation of celibacy on either side. 
Of course, the misery consequent upon such arbitrary de- 
struction of voluntary and imposition of involuntary ties 
was nothing to Mr. K . 

I was very sorry to hear to-day that Mr, O , the 


overseer at the rice-island, of whom I have made mention 
to you more than once in my letters, had had one of the 
men flogged very severely for getting his wife baptized. 
I was quite unahle, from the account I received, to under- 
stand what his objection had been to the poor man's de- 
sire to make his wife at least a formal Christian ; but it 
does seem dreadful that such an act should be so visited. 
I almost wish I was back again at the rice -island; for, 
though this is every way the pleasanter residence, I hear 
so much more that is intolerable of the treatment of the 
slaves from those I find here, that my life is really made 
wretched by it. There is not a single natural right that 
is not taken away from these unfortunate people, and the 
worst of aU is, that their condition does not appear to me, 
upon farther observation of it, to be susceptible of even 
partial alleviation as long as the fundamental evU, the sla- 
very itself, remains. 

My letter was interrupted as usual by clamors for my 
presence at tlie door, and petitions for sugar, rice, and 
baby-clothes from a group of women who had done their 
tasks at three o'clock in the afternooii, and had come to 
say, "Ha do, missis ?" (How do you do ?), and beg some- 
thing on their way to their huts. Observing one among 
them whose hand. was badly maimed, one finger being re- 
duced to a mere stump, she told me it was in consequence 
of the bite of a rattlesnake, which had attacked and bitten 
her child, and then struck her as she endeavored to kill 
it ; her little boy had died, but one of the drivers cut off 
her finger, and so she had escaped with the loss of that 
member only. It is yet too early in the season for me to 
make acquaintance with these delightful animals, but the 
accounts the negroes give of their abundance is full of 
agreeable promise for the future. It seems singular, con- 
sidering how very common they are, that there are not 
more frequent instances of the slaves being bitten by 


them ; to be sure, they seem to me to have a holy horror 
of ever setting their foot near either tree, or bush, or any 
where but on the open road and the fields where they la- 
bor ; and, of course, the snakes are not so frequent in open 
and frequented places as in their proper coverts. The 
Red Indians are said to use successfully some vegetable 
cure for the bite, I believe the leaves of the slippery ash 
or elm ; the only infallible remedy, however, is suction, but 
of this the ignorant negroes are b(? afraid that they nev- 
er can be induced to have recourse to it, being, of. course, 
immovably persuaded that the poison which is so fatal to 
the blood must be equally so to the stomach. They tell 
me that the cattle wandering into the brakes and bushes 
are often bitten to death by these deadly creatures ; the 
pigs, whose fat, it seems, does not accept the venom into 
its tissues with the same efiect, escape unhurt for the most 
part — so much for the anti-venomous virtue of adipose 
matter — a consolatory 'consideration for such of us as are 
inclined to take on flesh more than we think graceful. 

Monday morning, 2Sth. This letter has been long on 

the stocks, dear E . I have been busy all day, and 

tired, and lazy in the evening latterly, and, moreover, feel 
as if such very dull matter was hardly worth sending all 
the way off to where you are happy to be. However, 
that is nonsense ; I know well enough that you are glad 
to hear from me, be it what it wiU, and so I resume my 
chronicle. Some of my evenings have been spent in read- 
ing Mr. Clay's anti-abolition speech, and making notes on 
it, which I will show you when'we meet. What a cruel 
pity and what a cruel shame it is that such a man should 
either know no better or do no better for his country than 
he is doing now ! 

Yesterday I for the first time bethought me of the rid- 
ing privileges of which Jack used to make such magnifi- 
cent mention when he was fishing with me at the rice- 



island ; and desiring to visit the remoter parts of the plan- 
tation and the other end of the island, I inquired into the 
resources of the stable. I was told I could have a mare 
with foal ; but I declined adding my weight to what the 
poor beast already carried, and my only choice then was 
between one who had just foaled, or a fine stallion used 
as a plow-horse on the plantation. I determined for the 
latter, and shall probably be handsomely shaken whenever 
I take my rides abroald. 

Tuesday, the 26th. My dearest E , I write to you 

to-day in great depression and distress. I have had a 
most painful conversation with Mr. , who has de- 
clined receiving any of the people's petitions through me. 
Whether he is wearied with the number of these prayers 
and supplications, which he would escape but for me, as 
they probably would not venture 'to come so incessantly 
to him, and I, of course, feel bound to bring every one 
confided to me to him, or vrhether he has been annoyed 
at the number of pitiful and horrible stories of misery and 

oppression under the former rule" of Mr. K , which 

have come to my knowledge since I have been here, and 
the grief and indignation caused, but which can not, by 
any means, always be done away with, though their ex- 
pression may be silenced by his, angry exclamations of 
" Why do you listen to such stuff?" or " Why do you be- 
lieve such trash ? don't you know the niggers are all d — d 
liars ?" etc., I do not know ; but he desired me this morn- 
ing to bring him no more complaints or requests of any 
sort, as the people had hitherto had no such advocate, and 
had done very well without, and I was only kept in an in- 
cessant state of excitement with all the falsehoods they 
"found they could make me believe." How well they 
have done without my advocacy, the conditions which I 
see with my own eyes, even more than their pitiful pe- 
titions, demonstrate ; it is indeed true that the sufferings 


of those who come to me for redress, and, still more, the 
injustice done to the great majority who can not, have 
filled my heart with bitterness and indignation that have 
overflowed my lips, till, I suppose, is weary of hear- 
ing what he has never heard before, the voice of pas- 
sionate expostulation and importunate pleading against 
wrongs that he will not even acknowledge, and for crea- 
tures whose common humanity with his own I half think 
he does not believe ; but I must return to the North, for 
my condition would be almost worse than theirs — con- 
demned to hear and see so much wretchedness, not only 
without the means of alleviating it, but without permis- 
sion even to represent it for alleviation : this is no place 
for me, since I was not born among slayes, and can not 
bear to live among them. 

Perhaps, after all, what he says is true : when I am 
gone they will fall back into the desperate uncomplaining 
habit of suffering, from which my coming among them, 
willing to hear and ready to help, has tempted them ; ho 
says that bringing their complaints to me, and the sight 
of my credulous commiseration, only tend to make them 
discontented and idle, and brings renewed chastisement 
upon them; and that so, instead of really befriending 
them, I am only preparing more suffering for them when- 
ever I leave the place, and they, can no more cry to me for 
help. And so I see^othing for it but to go and leave 
them to their fate ; perhaps, too, he is afraid of the mere 
contagion of freedom which breathes from the very exist- 
ence of those who are free ; my way of speaking to the 
people, of treating them, of living with them, the appeals 
I make to their sense of truth, of duty, of self-respeet, the 
infinite compassion and the human consideration I feel for 
them — all this, of course, makes my intercourse with them 
dangerously suggestive of relations far different from any 
thing they have ever known ; and, as Mr. O once al- 


most hinted to me, my existence among slaves was an ele- 
ment of danger to the " institution." If I should go away, 
the human sympathy that I have felt for them will cer- 
tainly never come near them again. 

I was too unhappy to write any more,_ my dear friend, 
and you have been spared the rest of my paroxysm, which 
hereabouts culmina.ted in the blessed refuge of abundant 
tears. God will provide. He has not forgotten, nor will 
He forsake these His poor children] and if I may no lon- 
ger minister to them, they yet are in His hand, who cares 
for them more and better than I can. 

Toward the afternoon yesterday I rowed up the river 
to the rice-island by way of refreshment to my spirits, and 
came back to-day, Wednesday, the S^th, through rather a 
severe storm. Before going to bed last night I finished 
Mr. Clay's speech, and ground my teeth over it. Before 
starting this morning I received from head man Frank a 
lesson on the various qualities of the various sorts of rice, 
and should be (at any rate till I forget all he told me, 
which I "feel in my bones" will be soon) a competent 
judge and expert saleswoman. The dead white speck, 
which shows itself sometimes in rice as it does in teeth, 
is in the former, as in the latter, a sign of decay; the 
finest quality of rice is what may be called flinty, clear 
and unclouded, and a pretty, clean, sparkling-looking thing 
it is. , 

I will tell you something curious and pleasant about my 
row back. The wind was so high and the river so rough 
when I left the rice-island, that just as I was about to get 
into the boat I thought it might not be amiss to carry my 
life-preserver with me, and ran back to the house to fetch 
it. Having taken that much care for my life, I jumped 
into the boatj and we pushed ofi". The fifteen miles' row 
with a furious wind, and part of the time the tide against 
us, and the huge broad, turbid river brokeu into a foam- 


ing sea of angiy waves, was a pretty severe task for the 
men. They pulled with a will, however, but I had to 
forego the usual aceompaniment of their voices, for the la- 
bor was tremendous, especially towar,d the end of our voy- 
age, where, of course, the nearness of the sea increased 
the roughness of the water terribly. The men were in 
great spirits, however (there were eight of them rowing, 
and one behind was steering) ; one of them said some- 
thing which elicited an exclamation of general assent, and 
I asked what it was ; the steerer said they were pleased 
because there was not another planter's lady in all Geor- 
gia who would have gone through the storm all alone 
with them in a boat ; i. e., without the protecting pres- 
ence of a white man. " Why," said I, " my good fellows, 
if the boat capsized, or any thing happened, I am sure I 
should have nine chances for my life instead of one ;" at 
this there was one shout of " So you would, missis ; true 
for dat, missis;" and in great mutual good-humor we 
reached the landing at Hampton Point. 

As I walked home I pondered over this compliment of 

Mr. 's slaves to me, and did not feel quite sure that 

the very absence of the fear which haunts the Southern 
women in their intercourse with these people, and pre- 
vents them from trusting themselves ever with them out 
of reach of white companionship and supervision, was not 
one of the circumstances which makes my intercourse 
with them unsafe and undesirable. The idea of appre- 
hending any mischief from them never yet crossed my 
brain; and in the perfect confidence with which I go 
among them, they must perceive a curious difference be- 
tween me and my lady neighbors in these parts ; all have 
expressed unbounded astonishment at my doing so. 

The spring is fast coming on, and we shall, I suppose, 
soon leave Georgia. How new and sad a chapter of my 
life this winter here has been ! 

11 4: JOUENAL or 

Dear E , — ^I can not give way to the bitter impa- 
tience I feel at my present position, and come back to the 
North without leaving my babies ; and though I suppose 
their stay will not in any case be much prolonged in these 
regions of swamp and slavery, I must, for their sakes, re- 
main where they are, and learn this, dreary lesson of hu- 
man suffering to the. end. The record, it seems to ine, 
must be utterly wearisome to you, as the instances them- 
selves, I suppose, in a given time (thanks to that dreadful 
reconciler to all that is evil-r-habit), would become to me. 

This morning I had a visit from two of the women, 
Charlotte and Judy, who came to me for help and advice 
for a complaint, which it really seems to me every other 
woman on the estate is cursed with, and which is a direct 
result of the conditions of then- existence ; the practice of 
sending women to labor in the fields in the third week 
after their confinement is a specific for causing this in- 
firmity, and I know no specific for curing it under these 
circumstances. As soon as these poor things had depart- 
ed with such comfort as I could give them, and the band- 
ages they especially begged for, three other sable graces 
introduced themselves, Edie, Louisa, and Diana ; the for- 
mer told me she had had a family of seven children, but 
had lost them all through " ill luck," as she denominated 
the ignorance and ill treatment which were answerable 
for the loss of these, as of so many other poor little crear 
tures their fellows. Having dismissed her and Diana 
with the sugar and rice they came to beg, I detained 
Louisa, whom I had never seen but in the presence of her 
old grandmother, whose version of the poor child's escape 
to, and hiding in the woods, I had a desire to compare 
with the heroine's own story. She told it very simply, 
and it was most pathetic. She had not finished her task 
one day, when she said she felt ill, and unable to do so, 


and had been severely flogged by Driver Bran, in whose 
" gang" she then was. The next day, in spite of this en- 
couragement to labor, she had again been unable to com- 
plete her appointed work ; and Bran having told her that 
he'd tie her up and flog her if she did not get it done, she 
had left the field and run into the swamp. " Tie you up, 
Louisa !" said I ; " what is that ?" She then described to 
me that they were fastened up by their wrists to a beam 
or a branch of a tree, their feet barely touching the ground, 
so as to allow them no purchase for resistance or evasion 
of the lash, their clothes turned over their heads, and.their 
backs scored with a leather thong, either by the driver 
himself, or, if he pleases to inflict their punishment by 
deputy, any of the men he may choose to summon to the 
office ; it might be father, brother, husband, or lover, if 
the overseer so ordered it. I turned sick, and my blood 
curdled listening to these details from the slender young 
slip of a lassie, with her poor piteous face and murmuring, 
pleading voice. " Oh," said I, " Louisa ; but the rattle- 
snakes — the dreadful rattlesnakes in the swamps ; were 
you not afraid of those horrible creatures ?" " Oh, mis- 
sis," said the poor child, " me no tink of dem ; me forget 
all 'bout dem for de fretting." "Why did you come 
home at last ?" " Oh, missis, me starve with hunger, me 
most dead with hunger before me come back." "And 
were you flogged, Louisa ?" said I, with a shudder at 
what the answer might be. " No, missis, me go to hos- 
pital ; me almost dead and sick so long, 'speo.Driver Bran 
him forgot 'bout de flogging." I am gettmg perfectly 

savage over all these doings, E , and really think I 

should consider my own throat and those of my children 
well cut if some night the people were to take it into their 
heads to clear off" scores in that fashion. 

The Calibanish wonderment of all my visitors at the 
exceedingly coarse and simple furniture and rustic means . 


of comfort of my abode is very droll. I have never in- 
habited any apartment so perfectly devoid of what we 
should consider the common decencies of life ; but to them, 
my rude chintz-covered sofa and common pine-wood table, 
with its green baize cloth, seem the adornings of a palace ; 
and often in the evening, when my bairns are asleep, and 
M up stairs keeping watch over them, and I sit writ- 
ing this daily history for your edification, the door of the 
great barn-like room is opened stealthily, and one after 
another, men and women come trooping silently in, their 
naked feet falling all but inandibly on the bare boards as 
they betake themselves to the hearth, where they squat 
down on their hams in a circle, the bright blaze from the 
huge pine logs, which is the only light of this half of the 
room, shining on their sooty limbs and faces, and making 
"them look like a ring of ebony idols surrounding my do- 
mestic hearth. I have had as many as fourteen at a time 
squatting silently there for nearly half an hour, watching 
me writing at the other end of the room. The candles on 
my table give only light enough for my own occupation, 
the fire-light illuminates the rest of the apartment ; and 
you can not imagine any thing stranger than the effect of 
all these glassy whites of eyes and grinning white teeth 
turned toward me, and shining in the flickering light. I 
very often take no notice of them at all, and they seem 
perfectly absorbed in contemplating me. My evening 
dress probably excites their wonder and admiration no 
less than my rapid and continuous writing, for which they 
have sometimes expressed compassion, as if they thought 
it must be more laborious than hoeing ; sometimes at the 
end of my day's journal I look up and say suddenly, " Well, - 
what do you want ?" when each black figure springs up 
at once, as if moved by machinery ; they all answer, " Me 
come say ha do (how d'ye do), missis ;" and then they 
troop out as noiselessly as they entered, like a procession 


of sable dreams, and I go oflfin search, if possible, of whiter 

Two days ago I had a visit of great interest to me from 
several lads from twelve to sixteen years old, who had 
come to beg me to give them work. To make you un- 
derstand this, you must know that, wishing vei-y much to 
cut some walks and drives through the very picturesque 
patches of woodland not far from the house, I announced, 
through Jack, my desire to give employment in the wood- 
cutting line to as many lads as chose, when their unpaid 
task was done, to come and do some work for me, for 
which I engaged to pay them. At the risk of producing 
a most dangerous process of reflection and calculation in 
their brains, I have persisted in paying what I considered 
wages to every slave that has been my servant ; and these 
my laborers must, of course, be free to work or no, as they 
like, and if they work for me must be paid by me. The 
proposition met with unmingled approbation from my 
"gang;" but I think it might be considered dangerously 
suggestive of the rightful relation between work and 
wages ; in short. Very involuntarily no doubt, but, never- 
theless, very effectually I am disseminating ideas among 

Mr. 's dependents, the like of which have certainly 

never before visited their wool-thatched brains. 

Friday^ March 1. Last night, after writing so much to 
you, I felt weary, and went out into the air to refresh my 
spirit. The scene just beyond the house was beautiful; 
the moonlight slept on the broad river, which here is al- 
most the sea, and on the masses of foliage of the great 
Southern oaks ; the golden stars of German poetry shone 
in the purple curtains of the night, and the measured rush 
of the Atlantic unfurling its huge skirts upon the white 
sands of the beach (the sweetest and most awful lullaby 
in nature) resounded through the silent air. 

I have not felt well, and have been much depressed for 

178 JOUKNAL or 

some days past. I think I should die if I had to live here. 
This morning, in order not to die yet, I thought I had bet- 
ter take a ride, and accordingly mounted the horse which 
I told you was one of the equestrian alternatives offered 
me here ; but no sooner did he feel my weight, which, 
after all, is mere levity and frivolity to him, than he thought 
proper to rebel, and find the grasshopper a burden, and 
rear and otherwise demonstrate his disgust. I have not 
ridden for a long time now; but Montreal's opposition 
very presently aroused the Amazon which is both natural 
and acquired in me, and I made him comprehend that, 
though I object to slaves, I expect obedient servants; 
which views of mine being imparted by a due administra- 
tion of both spur and whip, attended with a judicious com- 
bination of coaxing pats on his great crested neck, and 
endearing commendations of his beauty, produced the de- 
sired effect. Montreal accepted me as inevitable, and car- 
ried me very wisely and well up the island to another of 
the slave settlements on the plantation, called Jones's 

On my way I passed some magnificent evergreen oaks,* 
and some thickets of exquisite evergreen shrubs, and one 
or two beautiful sites for a residencej which made me 
gnash my teeth when I thought of the one we had chosen. 
To be sure, these charming spots, instead of being con- 
veniently in the middle of the plantation, are at an out of 
the way end of it, and so hardly eligible for the one qual- 
ity desired for the overseer's abode, viz., being central. - 

All the slaves' huts on St. Simon's are far less solid, com- 
fortable, and habitable than those at the rice-island. I do 

* The only ilex-trees which I have seen comparable in size and beau.- 
ty with those of the sea-board of Georgia are some to be found in the 
Roman Campagna, at Passerano, Lnnghegna, Castel Fusano, and oth- 
er of its great princely farms, but especially in the magnificent woody 
wilderness of Valerano. 


not know whether the laborer's habitation bespeaks the 
alteration in the present relative importance of the crops, 
but certainly the cultivators of the once far-famed long 
staple sea-island cotton of St. Simon's are far more miser- 
ably housed than the rice-raisers of the other plantation. 
These ruinous shielings, that hardly keep out wind or 
weather, are deplorable homes for young or aged people, 
and poor shelters for the hard-working men and women 
who cultivate the fields in which they stand. Riding 
home I passed some beautiful woodland, with charming 
pink and white blossoming peach and plum trees, which 
seemed to belong to some orchard that had been attempt- 
ed, and afterward delivered over to wildness. On inquiry, 
I found that no fruit worth eating was ever gathered from 
them. What a pity it seems ! for in this warm, delicious 
winter climate any and every species of fruit might be cul- 
tivated with little pains and to great perfection. As I 
was cantering along the side of one of the cotton-fields I 
suddenly heard some inarticulate vehement cries, and saw 
what seemed to be a heap of black limbs tumbling and 
leaping toward me, renewing the screams at intervals as 
it approached. I stopped my horse, and the black ball 
bounded almost into the road before me, and, suddenly 
straightening itself up into a haggard hag of a half-naked 
negress, exclaimed, with panting, eager breathlessness, 
" Oh, missis, missis, you no hear me cry, you no hear me 
ca,ll. Oh, missis, me call, me cry, and me run ; make me a 
gown like dat. Do, for massy's sake, only make me a 
gown like dat." This modest request for a riding habit 
in which to hoe the cotton-fields served for an introduc- 
tion to sundry other petitions for rice, and sugar, and flan- 
nel, all which I promised the petitioner, but not the "gown 
like dat;" whereupon I rode off, and she flung herself 
down in the middle of the road to get her wind and rest. 
The passion for dress is curiously strong in these peo- 


pie, and seems as though it'might be made an instrument in 
converting them, outwardly at any rate, to something like 
civilization ; for, though their own native taste is decided- 
ly both barbarous and ludicrous, it is astonishing how 
very soon they mitigate it in imitation of their white mod- 
els. The fine figures of the mulatto women in Charleston 
and Savannah are frequently as elegantly and tastefully 
dressed as those of any of their female superiors ; and 
here on St. Simon's, owing, I suppose, to the influence of 
the resident lady proprietors of the various plantations, 
and the propensity to imitate in their black dependents, 
the people that I see all seem to me much tidier, cleaner, 
and less fantastically dressed than those on the rice plan- 
tation, where no such influences reach them. 

On my return from my ride I had a visit from Captain 

F , the manager of a neighboring plantation, with 

whom I had a long conversation about the present and 
past condition of the estate, the species of feudal magnifi- 
cence in which its original owner, Major , lived, the 

iron rule of old overseer K — — which succeeded to it, 

and the subsequent sovereignty of his son, Mr. R 

K , the man for whom Mr. entertains such a cor- 
dial esteem, and of whom every account I receive from 
the negroes seems to me to indicate a merciless sternness 
of disposition that may be a virtue in a slave-driver, but 

is hardly a Christian grace. Captain F was one of 

our earliest visitors at the rice plantation on our arrival, 
and I think I told you of his mentioning, in speaking to 
me of the orange-trees which formerly grew all round the 
dikes there, that he had taken Basil Hall there once in 
their blossoming season, and that he had said the sight 
was as well worth crossing the Atlantic for as Niagara. 
To-day he referred to that again. He has resided for a 
great many years on a plantation here, and is connected 
with our neighbor, old Mr. C , whose daughter,! be- 


lieve, he married. He interested me extremely by hi& de- 
scription of the house Major had many years ago on 

a part of the island called St. Clair. As far as I can un- 
derstand, there must have been an indefinite number of 
" masters' " residences on this estate in the old major's 
time ; for, what with the one we are building, and the 
ruined remains of those not quite improved oflfthe face of 
the earth, and the tradition of those that have ceased to 
exist, even as ruins, I make out no fewer than seven. 
How gladly would I exchange all that remain and all that 
do not for the smallest tenement in your blessed Yankee 
mountain village ! 

Captain F told me that at St. Clair General Ogle- 
thorpe, the good and brave English governor of the State 
of Georgia in its colonial days, had his residence, and that 
among the magnificent live oaks which surround the site 
of the former settlement, there was one especially vener- 
able and picturesque, which in his recollection always 
went by the name of General Oglethorpe's Oak. If you 
remember the history of the colony under his benevolent 
rule, you must recollect how absolutely he and his friend 
and counselor Wesley opposed the introduction of slavery 
in the colony. How wrathfuUy. the old soldier's spirit 
ought to haunt these cotton-fields and rice-swamps of his 
old domain, with their population of wretched slaves ! I 
will ride to St. Clair and see his oak; if I should see him, 
he can not have much to say to me on the subject that I 
should not cry amen to. 

Satwrday, March 2. I have made a gain, no doubt, in 

one respect in coming here, dear E , for, not being 

afraid of a rearing stallion, I can ride ; but, on the other 
hand, my aquatic diversions are all lil^y, I fear, to be 
much curtailed. Well may you, or another Northern 
Abolitionist, consider this a heaven-forsaken region — why, 
I can not even get worms to fish with, and was solemnly 


assured by Jack this morning that the whole " Point," i. 
e., neighborhood of the house, had been searched in vain 
for these useful and agreeable animals. I must take to 
some more sportsman-like species of bait ; but, in my to- 
tal ignorance of even the kind of fish that inhabit these 
waters, it is difficult for me to adapt my temptations to 
their taste. 

Yesterday evening I had a visit that made me very sor- 
rowful, if any thing connected with these poor people can 
be called more especially sorrowful than their whole con- 
dition ; but Mr. 's declaration that he will receive no 

more^ statements of grievances or petitions for redress 
through me makes me as desirous now of shunning the 
vain appeals of these unfortunates asl used to be of re- 
ceiving and listening to them. The imploring cry, " Oh 
missis !" that greets me whichever way I turn, makes me 
long to stop my ears now ; for what can I say or do any 
more for them ? The poor little favors — the rice, the sug- 
ar, the flannel — that they beg for with such eagerness, 
and receive with such exuberant gratitude, I can, it is true, 
supply, and words and looks of pity, and counsel of pa- 
tience, and such instruction in womanly habits of decency 
and cleanliness as may enable them to better, in some de- 
gree, their own hard lot ; but to the entreaty, " Oh, mis- 
sis, you speak to massa for us ! Oh, missis, you beg massa 
for us ! Oh, missis, you tell massa for we, he sure do as 
you say !" I can not now answer as formerly, and I turn 
away choking and with eyes full of tears from the poor 
creatures, not even daring to promise any more the faith- 
ful transmission of their prayers. 

The women who visited me yesterday evening were all 
in the family-way, and came to entreat of m6 to have the 
sentence (whalWlse can I call it ?) modified which con- 
demns them to resume their labor of hoeing in the fields 
three weeks after their confinement. They knew, of 


course, that I can not interfere with their appointed lahor, 
and therefore their sole entreaty was that I would use my 
influence with Mr. to obtain for thera a month's res- 
pite from labor in the field after ehildbearing. Their 
principal spokeswoman, a woman with a bright sweet face, 
called Mary, and a very sweet voice, which is by no means 
an uncommon excellence among them, appealed to my 
own experience ; and while she spoke of my babies, and my 
carefully tended, delicately nursed, and tenderly watched 
confinement and convalescence, and implored me to havg 
a kind of labor given to them less exhausting during the 
month after their confinement, I held the table before me 
so hard in order not to cry that I think my fingers ought 
to have left a mark on it. At length I told them that 
Mr. had forbidden me to bring him any more com- 
plaints from them, for that he thought the ease with which 
I received and believed their stories only tended to make 
them discontented, and that, therefore, I feared I could not 
promise to take their petitions to him ; but that he would 
be coming down to "the Point" soon, and that they had 
better come then some time when I was with him, and 
say what they had just been saying to me ; and with this, 
and various small bounties, I was forced, with a heavy 
hpart, to dismiss them ; and when they were gone, with 
many, exclamations of, " Oh yes, missis, you will, you will 
speak to massa for we ; God bless you, missis, we sure 
you will!" I had my cry out for them, for mysel%for rs. 
All these women had had large families, and aU of them 
had lost half their children, and several of them had lost 
more. How I do ponder upon the strange fate which has 
brought me here, from so far away, from surroundings so 
curiously difierent — how my own people in that blessed 
England of my birth would marvel if they could suddenly 
have a vision of me as I sit here, and how sorry some of 
them would be for me 1 


I am helped to bear all that is so very painful to me 
here by my constant enjoyment of the strange, wild scen- 
ery in the midst of which I live, and which my resumption 
of my equestrian habits gives me almost daily opportuni- 
ty of observing. I rode to-day to some new-cleared and 
plowed ground that was being prepared for the precious 
cotton-crop. I crossed a salt marsh upon a raised cause- 
way that was perfectly alive with land-crabs, whose des- 
perately active endeavors to avoid my horse's hoofs were 
so ludicrous that I literally laughed alone and aloud at 
them. The sides of this road across the swamp were cov- 
ered with a thick and close embroidery of creeping moss, 
or rathier lichens of the most vivid green and red : the 
latter made my horse's path look as if it was edged with 
an exquisite pattern of coral ; it was like a thing in a fairy 
tale, and delighted me extremely. 

I suppose, E , one secret of my being able to suffer 

as acutely as I do, without being made either ill or abso- 
lutely miserable, is the childish excitability of my temper- 
ament, and the sort of ecstasy which any beautiful thing 
gives me. No day, almost no hour, passes"without some 
enjoyment of the sort this coral-bordered road gave me, 
which not only charms my senses conipletely at the time, 
but returns again and again before my memory, delight- 
ing my fancy, and stimulating my imagination. I some- 
times despise myself for what seems to me an inconceiv- 
able rapidity of emotion, that almost makes me doubt 
whether any one who feels so many things can really be 
said to feel any thing ; but I generally recover from this 
perplexity by remembering whither invariably every im- 
pression of beauty leads my thoughts, and console myself' 
for my contemptible facility of impression by the reflec- 
tion that it is, upon the whole, a merciful system of com- 
pensation by which my whole nature, tortured as it was 
last night, can be absorbed this morning in a perfectly 


pleasurable Qontemplation of the capers of crabs and the 
color of mosses as if nothing else existed in creation. One 
thing, ho-wever,I think, is equally certain, and that is, that 
I need never expect much sympathy, and perhaps this 
special endowment will make me, to some degi'ee, inde- 
pendent of it ; but I have no doubt that to follow me 
through half a day with any species of lively participation 
in my feelings would be a severe breathless moral calis- 
thenio to most of my friends — what Shakspeare calls 
" sweating labor." As far as I have hitherto had oppor- 
tunities of observing, children and maniacs are the only 
creatures who would be capable of sufficiently rapid trans- 
itions of thought and feeling to keep pace with me. 

And so I rode through the crabs and the coral. There 
is one thing, however, I beg to commend to your serious 
consideration as a trainer of youth, and that is, the expe- 
diency of cultivating in all the young minds you educate 
an equal love of the good, the beautiful, and the absurd 
(not an easy task, for the latter is apt in its development 
to interfere a little with the two others) : doing this, you 
command all the resources of existence. The love of the 
good and beautiful of course you are prepared to culti- 
vate — that goes without saying, as the French say; the 
love of the ludicrous will not appear to you as important, 
and yet you will be wrong to undervalue it. In the first 
place, I might tell you that it was almost like cherishing 
the love of one's fellow-creatures — at which, no doubt, 
you shake your head reprovingly ; but, leaving aside the 
enormous provision for the exercise of this natural faculty 
which we ofier to each other, why should crabs scuttle 
from under my horse's feet in such a way as to make me 
laugh again every time I think of it, if there is not an in- 
herent propriety in laughter, as the only emotion which 
certain objects challenge — an emotion wholesome for the 
soul and body of man ? After all, why are we contrived 


to laugh at all, if laughter is not essentially befitting and 
beneficial ? and most people's lives are too lead-colored to 
afford to lose one sparkle on them, even the smallest 
twinkle of light gathered from a flash of nonsense. Here- 
after point out for the " appreciative" study of your pu- 
pils all that is absurd in themselves, others, and the uni- 
verse in general; 'tis an element largely provided, of 
course, to meet a corresponding and grateful capacity for 
its enjoyment. 

After my crab and coral causeway I came to the most 
exquisite thickets of evergreen shrubbery you can imag- 
ine. If I wanted to paint Paradise I would copy this un- 
dergrowth, passing through which I went on to the set-, 
tlement at St. Annie's, traversing another swamp on an- 
other raised causeway. The thickets through which I 
next rode were perfectly draped with the beautiful wild 
jasmine of these woods. Of all the parasitical plants I 
ever saw, I do think it is the most exquisite in form and 
color, and its perfume is like the most delicate heliotrope. 

I stopped for some time before a thicket of glittering 
evergreens, over which hung, in every direction,- stream- 
ing garlands of these fragrant golden cups, fit for Obe- 
ron's banqueting service. These beantifal shrubberies 
were resounding with the songs of mocking-birds. I sat 
there on my horse in a sort of dream of enchantment, 
looking, listening, and inhaling the delicious atmosphere 
of those flowers; and suddenly my eyes opened, as if I 
had been asleep, on some bright red bunches of spring 
leaves on one of the winter-sti-ipped trees, and I as sud- 
denly thought of the cold Northern skies and earth, where 
the winter was still inflexibly tyrannizing over you all, 
and, in spite of the loveliness of all that was present, and 
the harshness of all that I seemed to see at that moment, 
no first tokens of the spring's return were ever more wet 
come to me than those bright leaves that reminded me 


how soon I should leave this scene of material beauty and 
moral degradation, where the beauty itself is of an appro- 
priate character to the human existence it surrounds : 
above all, loveliness, brightness, and fragrance ; but be- 
low ! it gives one a sort of melusina feeling of horror — all 
swamp and poisonous stagnation, which the heat will pres- 
ently make alive with venomous reptiles. 

I rode on, and the next object that attracted my atten- 
tion was a very startling and by no means agreeable one 
— an enormous cypress-tree which had been burnt stood 
charred and blackened, and leaning toward the road so as 
to threaten a speedy fall across it, and on one of the limbs 
of this great charcoal giant hung a dead rattlesnake. If 
I tell you that it looked to me at least six feet long, you 
will say you only wonder I did not say twelve ; it was a 
hideous-looking creature, and some negroes I met soon 
after told me they had found it in the swamp, and hung it 
dead on the burning tree. Certainly the two together 
made a dreadful trophy, and a curious contrast to the 
lovely bowers of bloom I had just been contemplating 
with such delight. 

This settlement at St. Annie's is the remotest on the 
whole plantation, and I found there the wretchedest huts, 
and most miserably squalid, filthy, and forlorn creatures I 
had yet seen here — certainly the condition of the slaves 
on this estate is infinitely more neglected and deplorable 
than that on the rice plantation. Perhaps it may be that 
the extremely unhealthy nature of the rice cultivation 
makes it absolutely necessary that the physical condition 
of the laborers should be maintained at its best to enable 
them to abide it ; and yet it seems to me that even the 
process of soaking the rice can hardly create a more dan- 
gerous miasma than the poor creatures must inhale who 
live in the midst of these sweltering swamps, half sea, 
half river slime. Perhaps it has something to do with the 

188 JOURNAL Off 

fact that the climate on St. Simon's is generally considered 
peculiarly mild and favorable, and so less protection of 
clothes and shelter is thought necessary here for the poor 
residents ; perhaps^ too, it may be because the cotton crop 
is now, I believe, hardly as valuable as the rice crop, and 
the plantation here, which was once the chief source of its 
owner's wealth, is becomiog a secondary one, and so not 
worth so much care or expense in repairing and construct- 
ing negro huts and feeding and clothing the slaves. More 
pitiable objects than some of those I saw at the St. Annie's 
settlement to-day I hope never to see : there was an old 
crone called Hannah, a sister, as well as I could under- 
stand what she said, of old House Molly, whose face and 
figure, seamed with wriiiMes, and bowed and twisted 
with age and infirmity, really hardly retained the sem- 
blance of those of a human creature, and as she crawled 
to me almost half her naked body was exposed through 
the miserable tatters that she held on with one hand, 
while the other eagerly clutched my hand, and her poor 
blear eyes wandered all over me as if she was bewildered 
by the strange aspect of any human being but those whose 
sight was familiar to her. One or two forlorn creatures 
like herself, too old or too infirm to be compelled to work, 
and the half-starved and more than half-naked children ap- 
parently left hei"e under their charge, were the only in- 
mates I found in these wretched hovels. 

I came home without stopping to look at any thing, 
for I had no heart any longer for what had so charmed 
me on my way to this place. Galloping along the road 
after leaving the marshes, I scared an ox who was feeding 
leisurely, and, to my great dismay, saw the foolish beast 
betake hinaself with lumbering speed into the "bush:" 
the slaves will have to hunt after him, and perhaps will 
discover more rattlesnakes six or twelve feet long. 

After reaching home I went to the house of the over- 


seer to see his wife, a tidy, decent, kind-hearted little -w-oin- 
an, who seems to me to do her duty by the poor people 
she lives among as ■well as her limited intelligence and still 
more limited freedom allow. The house her husband lives 

in is the former residence of Major •, which was the 

great mansion of the estate. It is now in a most ruinous 
and tottering condition, and they inhabit but a few rooms 
in it ; the others are gradually mouldering to pieces, and 
the whole edifice will, I should think, -hardly stand long 
enough to be carried away by the nver, which in, its year- 
ly inroads on the bank on which it stands has already ap- 
proached within. a perilous proximity to the old dilapi- 
dated planter's palace. Old Molly, of whom I have often 
before spoken to you, who lived here in the days of the 
prosperity and grandeur of" Hampton," still clings to the 
relics of her old master's former magnificence, and with a 
pride worthy of old Caleb of Ravenswood showed me 
through the dismantled decaying rooms and over the re- 
mains of the dau'y; displaying a capacious fish-box or well, 
where, in the good old days, the master's supply was kept 
in fresh salt water till required'^for table. Her prideful 
lamentations over the departure of aU this quondam glory 
were ludicrous and pathetic ; but, while listening with 
some amusement to the jumble of grotesque descriptions, 
through which her impression of the immeasurable gran- 
deur and nobility of the house she served was the pre- 
dominant feature, I could not help contrasting the present 
state of the estate with that which she desoi'ibed, and 
wondering why it should have beconie, as it undoubtedly 
must have done, so infinitely less productive a property 
than in the old major's time. 

Before closing this letter, I have a mind to transcribe 
to you the entries for to-day recorded in a sort of day- 
book, where I put down very succinctly the number of 
people who visit me, theii- petitions and ailments, and also 


sucli special particulars concerning them as seem to me 
worth recording. You will see how miserable the phys- 
ical condition of many of these poor creatures is ; and 
their physical condition, it is insisted by those who uphold 
this evil system, is the only part of it which is prosperous, 
happy, and compares well with that of Northern laborers. 
Judge from the details I now send you ; and never for- 
get, while reading them, that the people on this plantation 
are well off, and consider themselves well off, in compari- 
son with the slaves on some of the neighboring estates. 

Fanny has had six children; all dead but one. She 
came to beg to have her work in the field lightened. 

Nanny has had three children ; two of them are dead. 
She came to implore that the rule of sending them into 
the field three weeks after their confinement might be al- 

Iieah, Caesar's wife, has had six children; three are 
dead. ■ 

Sophy, Lewis's wife, came to beg for some' old linen. 
She is suffering fearfully ; has had ten children ; five of 
them are dead. The principal favor she asked was a piece 
of meat, which I gave her. 

Sally, Scipio's wife, has had two miscarriages and three 
children born, one of whom is dead. She came complain- 
ing of incessant pain and weakness in her back. This 
woman was a mulatto daughter of a slave called Sophy^ 
by a white man of the n^me of Walker, who visited the 

Charlotte, Renty's wife, had had two miscarriages, and 
was with child again. She was almost crippled with rheu- 
matism, and showed me a pair of poor swollen knees that 
made my heart ache. I have promised her a pair of flan- 
nel trowserS, which I must foi-thwith set about making. 

Sarah, Stephen's wife — this woman's case and history 
were alike deplorable. She had had four miscarriages, 


had brought seven children into the world, five of whom 
were dead, and was again with child. She complained 
of dreadful pains in the back, and an internal tumor which 
swells with the exertion of working in the fields ; prob- 
ably, I think, she is ruptured. She told me she had once 
been mad and had ran into the woods, where she con- 
trived to elude discovery for some time, but was at last 
tracked and brought back, when she was tied up by the 
arms, and heavy logs fastened to her feet, and was severe- 
ly flogged. After this she contrived to escape again, and 
lived for some time skulking in the woods, and she sup- 
poses mad, for when she was taken again she was entire- 
ly naked. She subsequently recovered from this derange- 
ment, and seems now just like all the other poor creatures 
who come to me for help and pity. I suppose her con- 
stant childbearing and hard labor in the fields at the same 
time may have produced the temporary insanity. 

SuJcey, Bush's wife, only came to pay her respects. 
She had had four miscariiages ; had brought eleven chil- 
dren into the world, five of whom are dead. 

MoUy, Quambo's wife, also only came to see me. Hers 
was the best account I have yet received ; she had had 
nine children, and six of them were still alive. 

This is only the entry for to-day, in my diaiy, of the 
people's complaints and visits. Can you conceive a more 
Wretched picture than that which it exhibits of the con- 
ditions under which these women live ? Their cases are 
in no respect singular, and though they come with pitiful 
entreaties that I will help them with some alleviation of 
their pressing physical distresses, it seems to me marvel- 
ous with what desperate patience (I write it advisedly, 
patipnce of utter despair) they endure their sorrow-laden 
existence. Even the poor wretch who told that miser- 
able story of insanity, and lonely hiding in the swamps, 
and scourging when she was found, and of her renewed 


madness and flight, did so in a sort of low, plaintive, 
monotonous murmur of misery, as if such sufferings were 
all " in the day's work." 

I ask these questions about their children because I 
think the number they bear as compared with the num- 
ber they rear a fair gauge of the effect of the system on 
their own health and that of their offspring. There was 
hardly one of these women, as you will see by the details 
I have noted of their ailments, who might not have been 
a candidate for a bed in a hospital, and they had come to 
me after working all day in the fields. 

Deaeest E , — ^When I told you in my last letter of 

the encroachments which the waters of the Altamaha are 
daily making on the bank at Hampton Point and imme- 
diately in front of the imposing-looking old dwelling of 
the former master, I had no idea ho^ rapid this crum- 
bling process has been of late years; but to-day, standing 

there with Mrs. G , whom I had gone to consult about 

the assistance we might render to some of the poor crea- 
tures whose cases I sent you in my last letter, she told me 
that within the memory of many of the slaves now living 
on the plantation, a grove of orange-trees had spread^ its 
fragrance and beauty between the house and the 
Not a vestige remains of them. The earth that bore 
them was gradually undermined, slipped, and sank down 
into the devouring flood ; and when she saw the aston- 
ished incredulity of my look, she led me to the ragged 
and broken bank, and there, immediately below it, and 
just covered by the turbid waters of the in-rushing tide,,; 
were the heads of the poor drowned orange-trees, sway- 
ing like black twigs in the briny flood, which had not yet 
dislodged all of them from their hold upon the soil which 
had gone down beneath the water wearing its garland of 


bridal blossom. As I looked at those trees a wild wish 
rose ia my heart that the river and the sea would swal- 
low up and melt in their salt waves the whole of this ac- 
cursed property of ours. I. am afraid the horror of slav- 
ery with which I came down to the South, the general 
theoretic abhorrence of an Englishwoman for it, has gain- 
ed, through the intensity it has acquired, a morbid char- 
acter of mere desire to be delivered from my own share 
in it. I think so much of these wretches that I see, that 
I can hardly remember any others ; and my zeal for the 
general emancipation of the slave has almost narrowed 
itself to this most painful desire that I and. mine were 
freed from the responsibility of our share in this huge 
misery; and so I thought, "Beat, beat, the crumbling 
banks and sliding shores, wild waves of the Atlantic and 
the Altamaha ! Sweep down and carry Tience this evil 
earth and these homes of tyranny, and roll above the soil 
of slavery, and wash my soul and the souls of those I love 
clean from the blood of our kind !" But I have no idea 

that Mr. and his brother would cry amen to any such 

prayer. Sometimes, as I stand and listen to the roll of 
the great ocean surges on the farther side of little St. 
Simon's Island, a small green screen of tangled wilder- 
ness that interposes between this point and the Atlantic, 
I think how near our West Indian Islands and freedom 
are to these unfortunate people, many of whom are expert 
and hardy boatmen, as far as the mere mechanical manr 
agement of a boat goes; bxit, unless Providence were 
compass and steersman too, it avails nothing that they 
should know how near their freedom might be found, nor 
have I any right to tell them if they could find it, for the 

slaves are not mine, they are Mr. 's. 

The mulatto woman, Sally, accosted me again to-day, 
and begged that she might be put to some other than 
field labor. Supposing she felt herself unequal to it, I 



asked her some questions, but the principal reason she 
urged for her promotion to some less laborious kind of 
work was, that hoeing in the field was so hard to her on 
"account of her color" and she therefore petitions to he 
allowed to leiarn a trade. I was much puzzled at this 
reason for her petition, but was presently made to under- 
stand that, being a mulatto, she considered field labor a 
degradation ; her white bastardy appearing to her a title 
to consideration in my eyes. The degradation of these 
people is very complete, for they have accepted the con- 
tempt of their masters to that degree that they profess, 
and really seem to feel it for themselves, and the faintest 
admixture of white blood in their black veins appears at 
once, by common consent of their own race, to raise them 
in the scale of humanity. I had not much sympathy for 
this petition. The woman's father had been a white man 
who was employed for some purpose on the estate. In 

speaking upon this subject to Mrs. G , she said that, 

as far as her observation went, the lower class of white 
men in the South lived with colored women precisely as 
they would at the North with women of their own race ; 
the outcry that one hears against amalgamation appears 
therefore to be something educated and acquired rather 
than intuitive. I can not perceive, in observing my chil- 
dren, that they exhibit the slightest repugnance or dislike 
to these swarthy dependents of theirs, which they surely 
vould do if, as is so often pretended, there is an inherent, 
irreconcilable repulsion on the part of the white toward 
the negro race. All the Southern children that I have 
seen seem to have a special fondness for these good-na- 
tured, childish human beings, whose mental condition is 
kin in its simplicity and proneness to impulsive emotion 
to their own, and I can detect in them no trace of the ab- 
horrence and contempt for their dusky skins which aU 
questions of treating them with common justice is so apt 
to elicit from American men and women. 


To-day, for the first time since I left the rice-island, I 
went out fishing, but had no manner of luck. Jack rowed 
me up Jones's Creek, a small stream which separates St. 
Simon's from the main, on the opposite side from the 
.great waters of the Altamaha. The day was very warm. 
It is becoming almost too hot to remain here much lon- 
ger, at least for me, who dread and sufier from heat so 
much. The whole summer, however, is passed by many 
members of the Georgia families on their estates by tlie 
sea. When the heat is intense, the breeze from the ocean 
and the salt air, I suppose, prevent it from being intolera- 
ble or hurtful. Our neighbor, Mr. C , and his family 

reside entirely, the year round, on their plantations here 
without apparently suffering in their health from the ef- 
fects of the climate. I suppose it is the intermediate re- 
gion between the sea-board and the mountains that be- 
comes so pestilential when once the warm weather sets in. 

I remember the Belgian minister, M. de , telling me 

that the mountain country of Georgia was as beautiful as 
Paradise, and that the clima,te, as far as his experience 
went, was perfectly delicious. He was, however, only 
there on an ejgploring expedition, and, of course, took the 
most favorable season of the year for the purpose. 

ITiave had several women with me this afternoon more 
or less disabled by chronic rheumatism. Certainly, either 
their labor or the exposure it entails must be very severe, 
for this climate is the last that ought to engender rheu- 
matism. This evening I had a visit from a bright young 
woman, calling herself Minda, who came to "beg for a lit- 
tle rice or sugar. I inquired from which of the settle- 
ments she had come down, and found that she has to walk 
three miles every day to and from her work. She made 
no complaint whatever of this, and seemed to think her 
laborious tramp down to the Point after her day of labor 
on the field well rewarded by the pittance of rice and sug- 


ar she obtained. Perhaps she consoled herself for the ex- 
ertion by the reflection which occurred to me while talk- 
ing to her, that many women who have borne children, 
and many women with child, go the same distance to and 
from their task-ground— that seems dreadful ! 

I have let my letter lie from a stress of small interrup- 
tions. Yesterday, Sunday, 3d, old Auber, a stooping, halt- 
ing hag, came to beg for flannel and rice. As usual, of 
course, I asked various questions concerning her condi- 
tion, family, etc. ; she told me she had never been mar- 
ried, but had had five children, two of whom were dead. 
She complained of flooding, of intolerable backache, and 
said that with all these ailments she considered herself 
quite recovered, having suffered horribly from an abscess 
in her neck, which was now nearly well. I was surprised 
to hear of her other complaints, for she seemed to me like 
quite an old woman ; but constant childbearing, and the 
life of labor, exposure, and privation which they lead, ages 
these poor creatures prematurely. 

Dear K- 1, how I do defy you to guess the novel ac- 
complishment I have developed within the last two days ; 
what do you say to my turning butcher's boy, and cutting 
up the carcase of a sheep for the instruction of our butch- 
er and Cook, and benefit of our table ? You know, I have 
often written you word that we have mutton here— thanks 
to the short salt grass on which it feeds-^that compares 
with the best South Down or Pr& sale; but such is the 
barbarous ignorance of the cook, or rather the butcher 
who furnishes our kitchen supplies, that I defy the most 
expert anatomist to pronounce on any piece (joints they 
can not be called) of mutton brought to our table to what 
part of the animal sheep it originally belonged. I have 
often complained bitterly of this, and in vain implored 
Abraham the cook to send me some dish of mutton to 
which I might with safety apply the familiar name of leg, 


shovilcler, or haunch. These remonstrances and expostu- 
lations have produced no result whatever, however, but 
an increase of eccentricity in the chunks of sheeps' flesh 
placed upon the table ; the squares, diamonds, cubes, and 
rhomboids of mutton have been more ludicrously and 
hopelessly unlike any thing we see in a Christian butch- 
er's shop, with every fresh endeavor Abraham has made 
to find out " zackly wot de missis do want ;" so the day 

before yesterday, while I was painfully dragging S 

through the early intellectual science of the alphabet and 
first reading lesson, Abraham appeared at the door of the 
room brandishing a very long thin knife, and with many 
bows, grins, and apologies for disturbing me, begged that 
I would go and cut up a sheep for him. My first impulse, 
of course, was to decline the very unusual task offered me 
with mingled horror and amusement. Abraham, howev- 
er, insisted and besought, extolled the fineness of his sheep, 
declared his misery at being unable to out it as I wished, 
and his readiness to conform for the future to whatever 
patterns of mutton " de missis would only please to give 
him." Upon reflection, I thought I might very well con- 
trive to indicate upon the sheep the size and form of the 
different joints of civilized mutton, and so, for the future, 
save much waste of good meat ; and, moreover, the les- 
son, once taught, would not require to be repeated, and I 
have ever held it expedient to accept every opportunity 
of learning to do any thing, no matter how unusual, which 
pi-esented itself to be done; and so I followed Abraham 
to the kitchen, when, with a towel closely pinned over my 
silk dress, and knife in hand, I stood for a minute or two 
meditating profoundly before the rather unsightly object 
which Abraham had pronounced " de beautifullest sheep 
de missis eber saw." The sight and smell of raw meat 
are especially odious to me, and I have often thought that 
if I had had to be my own cook, I should inevitably be- 


come a vegetarian, probably, indeed, return entirely to my 
green and salad days. Nathless, I screwed my courage 
to the sticking-point, and slowly and delicately traced out 
with, the point of my long carving-knife two shoulders, 
two legs, a saddle, and a neck of mutton ; not probably 
in the most thoroughly artistic and butcherly style, but as 
nearly as my memory and the unassisted light of nature 
would enable me ; and having instructed Abraham in the 
various boundaries, sizes, shapes, and names of the several 

joints, I returned to S and her belles-lettres, rather 

elated, upon the whole, at the creditable mode in which I 
flattered myself I had accomplished my unusual task, and 
the hope of once more seeing roast mutton of my acquaint- 
ance. I will confess to you, dear E , that the neck 

was not a satisfactory part of the performance, and I have 
spent some thoughts since in trying to adjust in my own 
mind its proper shape and proportions. 

As an accompaniment to "de beautifullest mutton de 
inissis eber see," we have just received from my neighbor 
Mr. C the most magnificent supply of fresh vegeta- 
bles, green peas, salad, etc. He has a garden, and a Scotch- 
man's real love for horticulture, and I profit by them in 
this very agreeable manner. 

I have been interrupted by several visits, my dear E , 

among other, one from a poor creature called Judy, whose 
sad story and condition affected me most painfully. She 
had been married, she said, some years ago to one of the 
men called Temba, who, however, now has another wife, 
having left her because she went mad. While out of her 
mind she escaped into the jungle, and contrived to secrete 
herself there for some time, but was finally tracked and 
caught, and brought back and punished by being made to 
sit, day after day, for hours in the stocks^-a severe pun- 
ishment for a man, but for a woman perfectly barbarous. 
She complained of chronic rheumatism,' and other terrible 


ailments, and said she suffered such intolerable pain while 
laboring in the fields, that she had come to entreat me to 
have her work lightened. She could hardly crawl, and 
cried bitterly all the time she spoke to me. 

She told me a miserable story of her former experience 

on the plantation under Mr. K 's overseership. It 

seems that Jem Valiant (an extremely difficult subject, a 
mulatto lad, whose valor is sufficiently accounted for now 
by the influence of the mutinous white blood) was her 

first-born, the son of Mr. K- , who forced her, flogged 

her severely for having resisted him, and then sent her off, 
as a farther punishment, to Five Pound — a horrible swamp 
in a remote corner of the estate, to which the slaves are 
sometimes banished for such offenses as are not sufficient- 
ly atoned for by the lash. The dismal loneliness of the 
place to these poor people, who are as dependent as chil- 
dren upon companionship and sympathy, makes this soli- 
tary exile a much-dreaded infliction ; and this poor crea- 
ture said that, bad as the flogging was, she would sooner 
have taken that again than the dreadful lonely days and 
nights she spent on the penal swamp of Five Pound. 

I make no comment on these terrible stories, my dear 
friend, and tell them to you as nearly as possible in the 
perfectly plain, unvarnished manner in which they are told 
to me. I do not wish to add to, or perhaps I ought to 
say take away from, the effect of such narrations by am- 
plifying the simple horror and misery of their bare details. 

Mt deaebst E , — I have had an uninterrupted 

stream of women and children flowing in the whole morn- 
ing to say " Ha de, missis ?" Among others, a poor wom- 
an called Mile, who could hardly stand for pain and swell- 
ing in her limbs ; she had had fifteen children and two 
miscarriages; nine of her children had died; for the last 

200 JOUENAL 01" 

three years she had become almost a cripple with chronic 
rheumatism, yet she is driven every day to work in the 
field. She held my hands, and stroked them in the most 
appealing way while she exclaimed, " Oh my missis ! my 
missis ! me neber sleep till day for de pain," and with the 
day her labor must again be resumed. I gave her flannel 
and sal volatile to rub her poor swelled limbs with ; rest 
I could not^give her — rest from her labor and her pain — 
this mother of fifteen children. 

Another of my visitors had a still more dismal story to 
tell; her name was Die; she had had sixteen children, 
fourteen of whom were dead ; she had had four miscar- 
riages: one had been caused with falling down with a 
very heavy burden on her head, and one from having her 
arms strained up to be lashed. I asked her what she 
meant by having her arms tied up.^ She said their hands 
were first tied togethei", sometimes by the wrists, and 
sometimes, which was worse, by the thumbs, and they 
were then drawn up to a tree or post, so as almost to 
swing them off the ground, and then their clothes rolled 
round their waist, and a man with a cowhide stands and 
stripes them. I give you the woman's words. She did 
not speak of this as of any thing strange, unusual, or es- 
pecially horrid and abominable ; and when I said, " Did 
they do that to you when you were with child?" she sim- 
ply replied, " Yes, missis." And to all this I listen — I, an 
English woman, the wife of the man who owns these 
wretches, and I can not say, " That thing shall not be 
done again ; that cruel shame and villainy shall never be 
known here again." I gave the woman meat and flannel, 
which were what she came to ask for, and remained chok- 
ing with indignation and grief long after they had all left 
me to my most bitter thoughts. 

I went out to try and walk off some of the weight of 
horror and depression which I am beginning to feel daily 


more and more, surrounded by all this misery and degra- 
dation that I can neither help nor hinder. The Messed 
spring is coming very fast, the air is full of delicious wild- 
wood fragrances, and the wonderful songs of Southern 
birds ; the wood paths are as tempting as paths into Par- 
adise, but Jack is in such deadly terror about the snakes, 
which are now beginning to glide about with a freedom 
and frequency certainly not pleasing, that he will not fol- 
low me off the open road, and twice to-day scared me back 
from charming wood paths I ventured to explore with his 
exclamations of terrified warning. 

I gathered some exquisite pink blossoms, of a sort of 
waxen texture, off a small shrub which was strange to me, 
and for which Jack's only name was dye-bush ; but I could 
not ascertain from him whether any dyeing substance was 
found in its leaves, bark, or blossoms. 

I returned home along the river side, stopping to ad- 
mire a line of noble live oaks beginning, alas ! to be smoth- 
ered with the treacherous white moss under whose pale 
trailing masses their verdure gradually succumbs, leaving 
them, like huge hoary ghosts, perfect mountains of para- 
sitical vegetation, which, strangely enough, appears only 
to hang upon and swing from their boughs without ad- 
hering to them. ■ The mixture of these streams of gray- 
white filaments with the dark foliage is extremely beauti- 
ful as long as the leaves of the tree survive in sufficient 
masses to produce the rich contrast of color ; but when 
the moss has literally conquered the whole tree, and, after 
stripping its huge limbs bare, clothed them with its own 
wan masses, they always looked to me like so many gigan-' 
tic Druid ghosts, with flowing robes and beards, and locks 
all of one ghastly gray, and I would not have broken a 
twig off them for the world, lest a sad voice, like that 
which reproached Dante, should havfe moaned out of it to 



"Non hai tu spirto di pietade alcuno?" 
A beautiful mass of variows woodland skirted the edge 
of the stream, and mingled in its foliage every shade of 
green, from the pale, stiff spikes and fans of the dwarf pal- 
metto to the dark canopy of the magnificent ilex — bowers 
and brakes of the loveliest wildness, where one dare not 
tread three steps for fear. What a tantalization ! it is like 
some wicked enchantment. 

Deaeest E , — ^I have found growing along the edge 

of the dreary inclosure where' the slaves are buried such 
a lovely wild flower ; it is a little like the euphrasia or 
eyebright of the English meadows, but grows quite close 
to the turf, almost into it, and consists of clusters of tiny 
white flowers that look as if they were made of the finest 
porcelain. I took up a root of it yesterday, with a sort 
of vague idea that I could, transplant it to the North; 
though I can not say that I should care to transplant any 
thing thither that pould renew to me the associations of 
this place — not even the delicious wild flowers, if I could. 

The woods here are full of wild plum-trees, the delicate 
white blossoms of which twinkle among the evergreen 
copses, and, besides illuminating them with a faint star- 
light, suggest to my mind a possible liqueur like kirsch, 
which I should think could quite as well be extracted from 
wild plums as wild cherries, and the trees are so numerous 
that there ought to be quite a harvest from them. You 
may, and, doubtless, have seen palmetto plants in North- 
ern green and hot houses, but you never saw palmetto 
roots ; and what curious things they are ! huge; hard, yel- 
lowish-brown stems, as thick as my arm, or thicker, ex- 
tending and ramifying under the ground in masses that 
seem hardly justified or accounted- for by the elegant, 
light, spiky fans of dusky green foliage with which they 


fill the under part of the woods here. They look very 
tropical and picturesque, hut both in shape and color sug- 
gest something metallic rather than vegetable ; the bronze- 
green hue and lance-like form of their foliage has an arid, 
hard character, that makes one think they could be manu- 
factured quite as ■well as cultivated. At first I was ex- 
tremely delighted with the novelty of their appearance ; 
but now I feel thirsty when I look at them, and the same 
with their kinsfolk, the yuccas and their intimate friends, 
if not relations, the prickly pears, with all of which once 
strange growth I have grown contemptuously familiar 

Did it .ever occur to you what a strange ajEnity there 
is between the texture and coIor of the wild vegetables 
of these sandy Southern soils, and the texture and color 
of shells ? The prickly pear, and especially the round little 
cactus plants all covered with hairy spikes, are curiously 
suggestive of a family of round spiked shells, with which 
you, as well as myself, are doubtless familiar ; and though 
the splendid flame-color of some cactus blossoms never 
suggests any nature but that of flowers, I have seen some 
of a peculiar shade of yellow-pink, that resembles the min- 
gled tint on the inside of some elaborately colored shell, 
and the pale white and rose flowers of another kind have 
the coloring and almost texture of shell, much rather than 
of any vegetable substance. 

To-day I walked out without Jack, and, in spite of the 
terror of snakes with which he has contrived slightly to 
inoculate me, I did make a short exploring journey into 
the woods. I wished to avoid a plowed field, to the edge 
of which my wanderings had brought me ; but my dash 
into the woodland, thoiigh unpunished by an encounter 
with snakes, brought me only into a marsh as full of land- 
crabs as an ant-hill is of ants, and from which I had to re- 
treat ingloriously, finding my way home at last by the 


I have had, as usual, a tribe of visitors and petitioners 
ever since I came home. I ^111 give you an account of 
those cases which had any thing beyond the average of 
interest in their details. One poor woman, named Molly, 
came to beg that I would, if possible, get an extension of 
their exemption from work after childbearing. The close 
of her argument was concise and forcible. " Missis, we 
hab um pickanniny — tree weeks in de ospital, and den 
right out upon the hoe again — can we strong dat way, 
missis ? No !" And truly I do not see that they can. 
This poor creature has had eight children and two mis- 
carriages. All her children were dead but one. Another 
of my visitors was a divinely named but not otherwise di- 
vine Venus ; it is a favorite name among these sable folk, 
but, of course, must have been given originally in derision. 
The Aphrodite in question was a dirt-colored (convenient 
color I should say for these parts) mulatto. I could not 
understand how she came on this property, for she was 
the daughter of a black woman and the overseer of an es- 
tate to which her mother formerly belonged, and from 
which I suppose she was sold, exchanged, or given, as the 
case may be, to the owners of this plantation. She was 
terribly crippled with rheumatism, and came to beg for 
some flannel. She had had eleven children, five of whom 
had died, and two miscarriages. As she took her depart- 
ure, the vacant space she left on the other side of my writ- 
ing-table was immediately filled by another black figure 
with a bowed back and piteous face, one of the thousand 
" Mollies" on the estate, where the bewildering redun- 
dancy of their name is avoided by adding that of their 
husband ; so when the question, " Well, who are you ?" 
wa,s answered with the usual genuflexion, and " I'se Molly, 
missis !" I, of course, went on with " whose Molly," and 
she went on to refer herself to the ownership (under Mr. 
and heaven) of one Tony, but proceeded to say that 


he was not her real hushand. This appeal to an element 
of reality in the universally accepted fiction which passes 
here by the title of marriage surprised me ; and on asking 
her what she meant, she replied that h6r real husband had 
been sold from the estate for repeated attempts to run 
away. He had made his escape several times, and skiilked 
starving in the woods and morasses, but had always been 
tracked and brought back, and flogged almost to death, 
and finally sold as an incorrigible runaway. What a 
spirit of indomitable energy the wretched man inust have 
had, to have tried so often that hideously hopeless attempt 
to fly! I do not write you the poor woman's jargon, 
which was ludicrous ; for I can not write you the sighs, 
and tears, and piteous looks, and gestures, that made it 
pathetic ; of course she did not know whither or to whom 
her real husband had been sold ; but in the mean time 

Mr. K , that merciful Providence of the estate, had 

provided her with the above-named :Tony, by whom she 
had had nine children, six of whom were dead ; she, too, 
had miscarried twice. She came to ask me for sortie flan- 
nel for her legs, which were all swollen with constant 
rheumatism, and to beg me to give her something to cure 
some bad sores and ulcers, which seemed to me dreadful 
enough in their preserit condition, but which she said 
break out afresh and are twice as bad every summer. 
I have let my letter lie since the day before yesterday, 

dear E , having had no leisure to finish it. Yesterday 

morning I rode out to St. Clair's, where there used for- 
merly to be another negro settlement, and another house 

of Major 's. I had been persuaded to try one of the 

mares I had formerly told you of, and to be sure a more 
"curst" quadruped, and one more worthy of a Petruchio 
for a rider I did never back. Her temper was furious, 
her gait intolerable, her mouth the most obdurate that 
ever tugged against bit and bridle. It is not wise any 

206 JOUENAi OB" 

where — here it is less wise than any where else in the 
world — to say, " Jamais de cette eau je ne boirai ;" but I 
thinh I will never ride that delightful creature Miss Kate 

I wrote you of my having been to a part of the estate 
called St. Clair's, where there was formerly another resi- 
dence of Major ^s; nothing remains now of it but a 

ruined chimney of some of the offices, which is standing 
yet in the middle of what has become a perfect wilderness. 
At the best of times, with a large house, numerous house- 
hold, and paths, and dVives of approach, and the usual exr 
ternal conditions of civilization about it, a residence here 
would have been the loneliest that can well be imagined ; 
now it is the shaggiest desert of beautiful wood that I 
ever saw. The magnificent old oaks stand round the 
place in silent solemn grandeur ; and among them I had 
no difficulty in recognizing, by the description Captain 

F had given me of it, the crumbling, shattered relic 

of a tree called Oglethorpe's oak. That worthy, valiant 
old governor had ' a residence here himself in the early 
days of the colony, when, under the influence of Wesley, 
he vainly made such strenuous efforts to keep aloof from 
his infant province the sore curse of slavery. 
' I rode almost the whole way through a grove of perfect 
evergreen. I had with me one of the men of the name of 
Hector, who has a good deal to do with the horses, and 
so had volunteered to accompany me, being one of the 
few negroes on the estate who can sit a horse. In the 
course of our conversation, Hector divulged certain opin- 
ions relative to the comparative gentility of driving in a 
carriage and the vulgarity of walking, which sent me into 
fits of laughing ; at which he grinned sympathetically, and 
opened his eyes very wide, but certainly without attaining 
the. least insight into what must have appeared to him 
my very unaccountable and unreasonable merrimfenti 


Among various details of the condition of the people on the 
several estates in the island, he told me that a great num- 
ber of the men on aU. the different plantations had wives 
on the neighboring estates as well as on that to which 
they properly belonged. " Oh, but," said I, " Hector, you 
know that can not be ; a man has but one lawful wife." 
Hector knew this, he said, and yet seemed puzzled him- 
self, and gather puzzled me to account for the fact, that 
this extensive practice of bigamy was perfectly well known 
to the masters and overseers, and never in any way found 
fault with or interfered with. • PerRaps this promiscuous 
mode of keeping up the slave population finds favor with 
the owners of creatures who are valued in the market at 
so much per head. This was a solution which occurred 
to me, but which I left my Trojan hero to discover, by 
dint of the profound pondering into which he fell. 

Not far from the house, as I was cantering home, I met 
S , and took her up on the saddle before me, an oper- 
ation which seemed to please her better than the vicious 
horse I was riding, whose various demonstrations of dis- 
like to the arrangement afforded my small equestrian ex- 
treme delight and triumph. My whole afternoon was 
spent in shifting my bed and bedroom furniture from a 
room on the ground floor to one above ; in the course of 
which operation a brisk discussion took place between 

M and my boy Jack, who was nailing on the vallence 

of the bed, and whom I suddenly heard exclaim, in an- 
swer to something she had said, " Well, den, I do tink so ; 
and dat's the speech of a man, whether um bond or free." 
A very trifling incident^ and insignificant speech ; and yet 
it came back to my ears very often afterward-^" the 
speech of a man, whether bond or free." They might be 
made conscious — some of them are evidently conscious — ■ 
of an inherent element of manhood superior to the bitter 
accident of slavery, and to which, even in their degraded 


condition, they might be made to refer that vital self-re- 
spect which can survive all external pressure of mere cir- 
cumstance, and give their souls to that service of God, 
vrhich is perfect freedom, in spite of the ignoble and cruel 
bondage of their bodies. 

My new apartment is what I should call decidedly airy; 
the window, unless when styled by courtesy shut, which 
means admitting of draught enough to blow a candle out, 
must be wide open, being incapable of any intermediate 
condition ; the latch of the door, to speak the literal truth, . 
does shut ; but it is tie only part of it that does^hat is, 
the latch and the hinges ; every where else its configura- 
tion is traced by a distinct line of light and air. If what 
old Dr. Physic used to say be true, that a draught which 
will not blow out a candle will blow out a man's life (a 
Spanish proverb originally I believe), my life is threatened 
with extinction in almost every part of this new room of 
mine, wherein, moreover, I now discover to my dismay, 
having transported every other, article of bedroom furni- 
ture to it, it is impossible to introduce the wardrobe for 
my clothes. Well, our stay here is drawing to a close, 
and therefore these small items of discomfort can not af- 
flict me much longer. 

Among my visitors to-day was a poor woman named 
Oney, who told me her husband had gone away from her 
now for four years ; it seems he was the property of Mr. 

K , and when that gentleman went to slave-driving 

on his own accoimt, and ceased to be the overseer of this 
estate, he carried her better half, who was his chattel, 
away with him, and she never expects to see him again. 
After her departure I had a most curious visitor, a young 
lad of the name of Renty, whose very decidedly mulatto 
tinge accounted, I suppose, for the peculiar disinvoltura 
of his carriage and manner ; he was evidently, in his own 
opinion, a very superior creature, and yet, as his conver- 


sation with me testified, he was conscious of some flaw in 
the honor of his "yellow" complexion. "Who is your 
mother, Renty ?" said I (I give you our exact dialogue). 
" Betty, head man Frank's wife." I was rather dismayed 
at the promptness of this reply, and hesitated a little at my 
next question, "Who is your father?" My sprightly 
young friend, however, . answered, without an instant's 

pause, " Mr. K ." Here I came to a halt, and, willing 

to suggest some douht to the lad, because for many pecul- 
iar reasons this statement seemed to me shocking, I said, 

" What, old Mr. K ?" "]Sro,MSssaR ." "Did 

your mother tell you so ?" " No, missis, me ashamed to 

ask her ; Mr. C ^s children told me so, and I 'spect 

they know it." Renty, you. see, did not take Falcon- 
hridge's view of such matters ; and as I was by no means 

Borry to find that he [considered his relation to Mr. K 

a disgrace to his mother, which is an advance in moral 
perception not often met with here, I said no more upon 
the subject. 

Tuesday, March 3. This morning, old House Molly, 
coming from Mr. G 's upon some errand to me, I ask- 
ed her if Renty's statement was true ; she confirmed the 
whole story, and, moreover, added that this connection 
took place after Betty was married to head nUan Frank. 
Now he, you know, E , is the chief man at the rice- 
island, second in authority to Mr. O , and, indeed, for 

a considerable part of the year, absolute master and guard- 
ian during the night of all the people and property at the 
rice plantation ; for, after the early spring, the white over- 
seer himself is obliged to betake himself to the main land 
to sleep, out of the influence of the deadly malaria of the 
rice swamp, and Frank remains sole sovereign of the isl- 
and from sunset to sunrise — in short, during the whole 

period of his absence. Mr, bestowed the highest 

commendations upon his fidelity and intelligence, and, 


during the visit Mr. K K paid us at the island, 

he was emphatic in his praise of both Frank and his wife, 
the latter having, as he declared, by way of climax to his 
eulogies, quite the principles of a white woman. Perhaps 
she imbibed them from his excellent influence over her. 
Frank is a serious, sad, sober-looking, very intelligent 
man ; I should think he would not relish having his wife 
borrowed from him even by the white gentleman who ad- 
mired her principles so much ; and it is quite clear, from 
poor Renty's speech about his mother, that by some of 
these people (and if by any, then very certainly by Frank) 
the disgrace of such an injury is felt and appreciated much 
after the fashion of white men. 

This old woman Molly is a wonderfully intelligent, 
active, energetic creature, though considerably over sev- 
enty years old ; she was talking to me about her former 

master, Major , and what she was pleased to call the 

revelation war {i.e., revolution war), during which that 
gentleman, having embraced the side of the rebellious col- 
onies in their struggle against England,, was by no means 
on a bed of roses. He bore Bang George's commission, 
and was a major in the British army; but having married 
a great Carolina heiress, and become proprietor of these 
plantations, sided with the country of his adoption, and 
not that of his birth, in the war between them, and was a 
special object of animosity on that account to the English 
officers who attacked the sea-board of Georgia, and sent 
troops on shore and up the Altamaha to fetch off the ne- 
groes, or incite them to rise against their owners. " De 
British," said Molly, " make old massa ran about bery 
much in de great revelation war." He ran effectually, 
however, and contrived to save both his life and property 
from the invader. 

Molly's account was full of interest, in spite of the gro- 
tesque lingo in which it was delivered, and which once or 


twice nearly sent me into convulsions of laughing, where- 
upon she apologized with great gravity for her mispro- 
nunciation, modestly suggesting that white words were 
impossible to the organs of speech of black folks. It is 
curious how universally any theory, no matter how ab- 
surd, is accepted by these people ; for any thing in which 
the contemptuous supremacy of the dominant race is ad- 
mitted, and their acquiescence in the theory of their own 
incorrigible baseness is so complete, that this, more than 
any other circumstance in their condition, makes me doubt- 
ful of their rising from it. 

In order to set poor dear old Molly's notions straight 
with regard to the negro incapacity for speaking plain the 
noble whitti words, I called S-^ — to me and set her talk- 
ing ; and having pointed out to Molly how very imperfect 
her mode of pronouncing many words was, convinced the 
worthy old negress that want of training, and not any ab- 
solute original impotence, was the reason why she disfig- 
ured the white words, for which she-had such a profound 
respect. In this matter, as in every other, the slaves pay 
back to their masters the evil of their own dealings with 
usury, though unintentionally. No culture, however slight, 
simple, or elementary, is permitted to these poor creatures, 
and the utterance of many of them is more like what 
Prospero describes Caliban's to have been, than the speech 
of men and women in a Christian and civilized land : the 
children of their owners, brought up among them, acquire 
their negro mode of talking — slavish speech surely it is — 
and it is distinctly perceptible in the utterances of all 
Southerners, particularly of the women, whose avocations, 
taking 'them less from home, are less favorable to their 
throwing ofi" this %noble trick of pronunciation than the 
more varied occupation and tfee more extended and pro- 
miscuous business relations of men. The Yankee twang 
of the regular down Easter is not more easily detected by 


any ear, nice in eminciation and accent, than the thick ne- 
gro speech of the Southerners : neither is lovely or melo- 
dious ; but, though the Puritan snuffle is the harsher of 
the two, the slave sloVber of the language is the more ig- 
noble, in spite of the softer voices of the pretty Southern 
•women who utter it. 

I rode out to-day upon Miss Kate again, with Jack for 
my esquire. I made various vain attempts to ride through 
the woods, following the cattle-tracks ; they turned round 
and round into each other, or led out into the sandy pine 
barren, the eternal frame in which all nature is set here, 
the inevitable limit to the prospect, turn landward which 
way you will. The wood paths which I followed between 
evergreen thickets, 'though little satisfactory in their ulti- 
mate result, were really more beautiful than the most per- 
fect arrangement of artificial planting that I ever saw in 
an .English park; and I thought, if I could transplant the 
region which I was riding through bodily into the midst 
of some great nobleman's possessions on the other side of 
the water, how beautiful an accession it would be thought 
to them. I was particularly struck with the elegant 
growth of a profuse wild shrub I passed several times to- 
day, the leaves of which were pale green underneath, and 
a deep red, varnished brown above. 

I must give you an idea of the sort of service one is li- 
able to obtain from one's most intelligent and civilized 
servants hereabouts, and the consequent comfort and lux- 
ury of one's daily existence. Yesterday Aleck, the youth 
who fulfills the duties of what you call a waiter, and we 
in England a footman, gave me a salad for dinner, mixed 
with so large a portion of the soil in which it had grown 
that I requested him to-day to be kind enough to wash 

the lettuce before he brought it to table. M later in 

the day told me that he had applied to her very urgently 
for soap and a brush, " as missis wished de lettuce scrub- 


bed," a fate from which my second salad was saved by 
her refusal of these desired articles, and farther instruc- 
tions upon the subject. 

Dearest E , — I have been long promising poor old 

House Molly to visit her in her own cabin, and so the day 
before yesterday I walked round the settlement to her 
dwelling, and a most wretched hovel I found, it. She has 
often told me of the special directions left by her old mas- 
ter for the comfort and well-being of her old age, and cer- 
tainly his charge has been but little heeded by his heirs, 
for the poor faithful old slave is most miserably off in 
her infirm years. She made no complaint, however, but 
seemed overjoyed at my coming to see her. She took 
me to the hut of her; brother, old Jacob, where the same 
wretched absence of every decency and every comfort 
prevailed ; but neither of them seemed to think the con- 
dition that appeared so wretched to me one of peculiar 
hardship — though Molly's former residence in her mas- 
ter's house might reasonably have made her discontented 
with the lot of absolute privation to which she was now 
turned over— but, for the moment, my visit seemed to 
compensate for all sublunary sorrows, and she and poor 
old Jacob kept up a duet of rejoicing at my advent, and 
that I had brought " de little missis among um people 
afore they die." 

Leaving them, I went on to the house of Jacob's daugh- 
ter Hannah, with whom Psyche, the heroine of the rice- 
island story, and wife of his son Joe, lives. I found their 
cabin as tidy and comfortable as it could be made, and 
their children, as usual, neat and clean ; they are capital 
women, both of them, with an innate love of cleanliness 
and order most uncommon among these people. On my 
way home I overtook two of my daily suppliants, who 


were going -to the house in search of me, and meat, flan- 
nel, rice, and sugar, as the case might be ; they were both 
old and infirm-looking women, and one of them, called 
Scylla, was extremely lame, which she accounted for by 
an accident she had met with while carrying a heavy 
weight of rice on her head ; she had fallen on a sharp 
stake, or snag, as she called it, and had never recovered 
the injury she had received. She complained also of fall- 
ing of the womb. Her companion (who was not Chary b- 
dis, however, but Phoebe) was a cheery soul who com- 
plained of nothing, but begged for flannel. I asked her 
about her family and children; she had no children left, 
nothing but grandchildren ; she had had nine children, 
and seven of them died quite young; the only two who 
grew up left her to join the British when they invaded 
Georgia in the last war, and their children, whom they 
left behind, were all her family now. 

In the afternoon I made my first visit to the hospital of 
the. estate, and found it, as indeed I find every thing else 
here, in a far worse state even than the wretched estab- 
lishments on the rice-island, dignified by that name ; so 
miserable a place for the purpose to which it was dedica- 
ted I could not have irhagined on a property belonging to 
Christian owners. The floor (which was not boarded, 
but merely the damp hard earth itself) was strewn with 
wretched women, who, but for their moans of pain, and 
uneasy, restless motions, might very well each have been 
taken for a mere heap of filthy rags ; the chimney refus- 
ing passage to the smoke from the pine-wood fire, it puffed 
out in clouds through the room, where it circled and hung, 
only gradually oozing away through the windows, which 
were so far well adapted' to the purpose that there was 
not a single whole pane of glass in them. My eyes, tm- 
accustomed to the turbid atmosphere, smarted and wa- 
tered, and refused to distinguish at first the diflFerent dis- 


mal forms, from which cries and wails assailed me in every 
corner of the place. By degrees I was ahle to endure for 
a few minutes what they were condemned to live their 
hours and days of suffering and sickness through; and, 
having given what comfort kind words and promises of 
help in more substantial forms could convey, I went on to 
what seemed a yet more wretched abode of wretchedness. 
This was a room where there was no fire because there 
was no chimney, and where the holes made for windows 
had no panes or glasses in them. The shutters being 
closed, the place was so ^ark that, on first entering it, I 
was afraid to stir lest I should fall over some of the de- 
plorable creatures extended upon the floor. As soon as 
they perceived me, one cry of " Oh missis !" rang through 
the darkness ; and it really seemed to me as if I was never 
to exhaust the pity, and amazement, and disgust which 
this receptacle of suffering humanity was to excite in me. 
The poor dingy supplicating sleepers upraised themselves 
as I cautiously advanced among them ; those who could 
not rear their bodies from the earth held up piteous be- 
seeching hands, and as I passed from one to the other I 
felt more than one imploring clasp laid upon my dress, to 
solicit my attention to some new form of misery, Gne 
poor woman, called Tressa, who was unable to speak above 
a whisper from utter weakness and exhaustion, told me 
she had had nine children, was suffering from incessant 
flooding, and felt " as if her back would split open." There 
she lay, a mass of filthy tatters, without so much as a 
blanket under her or over her, on the bare earth in this 
chilly darkness. I promised them help and comfort, beds 
and blankets, and light and fire — that is, I promised to ask 

Mr. for all this for them ; and, in the very act of doing 

so, I remembered with a sudden pang of anguish that I 
was to urge no more petitions for his slaves to their mas- 
ter. I groped my way out, and, emerging on the piazza, 


all the choking tears and sobs I had controlled broke forth, 
and I leaned there crying over the lot of these unfortu- 
nates till I heard a feeble voice of "Missis, you no cry; 
missis, what for you cry ?" and, looking up, saw that I had 
not yet done with this intolerable infliction. A poor crip- 
pled old man, lying in the corner of the piazza, unable even 
to crawl toward me, had uttered this word of consolation, 
and by his side (apparently too idiotic, as he was too im- 
potent, to move) sat a young woman, the expression of 
whose face was the most suffering, and, at the same time, 
the most horribly repulsive I ever saw. I found she was, 
as I supposed, half-witted ; and, on coming nearer to in- 
quire into her. ailments and what I could do for her, found 
her Suffering from that horrible disease — ^I believe some 
form of scrofula — to which the negroes are subject, which 
attacks and eats away the joints of their hands and fingers 
— a more hideous and loathsome object I never beheld ; 
her name was Patty, and she was granddaughter to the 
old crippled creature by whose side she was squatting. 

I wandered home, stumbling with crying as I went, 
and feeling so utterly miserable that I really hardly saw 
where I was going, for I as nearly as possible fell over a 
great heap of oyster-shells. left in the middle of the path. 
This is a horrid nuisance, which results from an indul- 
gence which the people here have and value highly ; the 
waters round the island are prolific in shell-fish, oysters, 
and the most magnificent prawns I ever saw. The for- 
mer are a considerable article of the people's diet, and 
the shells are allowed to accumulate, as they are used in 
the composition of which their huts are built, and which 
is a sort of combination of mud and broken oyster-shells, 
which forms an agglomeration of a kind very. soUd and 
durable for such building purposes ; but, instead of being 
all carried to some specified place out of the way, these 
great heaps of oyster-shells are allowed to be piled up 


any where and every where, forming the most unsightly 
obstructions in every direction. Of course, the cultiva- 
tion of order for the sake of its own seemliness and beauty 
is not likely to be an element of slave existence ; and as 
masters have been scarce on this plantation for many 
years now, a mere unsightliness is not a matter likely to 
trouble any body much ; but, after my imminent over- 
throw by one of these disorderly heaps of refuse, I think 
I may make bold to request that the paths along which I 
am likely to take my daily walks may be kept free from 

On my arrival at home — at the house — I can not call 
any place here my home! — I found Renty^ waiting to 
exhibit to me an extremely neatly-made leather pouch, 
which he has made by my order, of fitting size and di- 
mensions to receive Jack's hatchet and saw. ■ Jack and I 
have set up a sort of Sir Walter and Tom Purdie com- 
panionship of clearing and cutting paths through the 
woods nearest to the house; thinning the overhanging 
branches, clearing the small evergreen thickets which 
here and there close over and across the grassy track. 
To me this occupation was especially delightful until 
quite lately, since the weather began to be rather warmer 
and the. snakes to slide about. Jack has contrived to in- 
oculate me with some portion of his terror of them ; but 
I have still a daily hankering after the lovely green wood 
walks ; perhaps, when once I have seen a live rattlesnake, 
my enthusiasm for them will be modified to the degree 
that his is. 

Deae E , — This letter has remained unfinished, «nd 

my journal interrupted for more than a week. Mr. ■ 

has been quite unwell, and I have been traveling to and 
fro daily between Hampton and the rice-island in the 



long-boat to visit him ; for the last three days I have re- 
mained at the latter place, and only returned here this 
morning early. My daily voyages up and down the river 
have introduced me to a great variety of new musical per- 
formances ,of our boatmen, who invariably, when the row- 
ing is not too hard, moving up or down with the tide, 
accompany the stroke of their oars with the sound of 
their voices. I told you fonnerly that I thought I could 
trace distinctly some popular national melody with which 
I was familiar in almost all their songs ; but I have been 
quite at a loss to discover any such foundation for many 
that I have heard lately, and which have appeared to me 
extraordinarily wild and unaccountable. The way in 
which the chorus strikes in with the burden, between 
each phrase of the melody chanted by a single voice, is 
very curious and effective, especially with the rhythm of 
the rowlocks for accompaniment. The high voices all in 
unison, and the admirable time and true accent with which 
their responses are made, always make me wish that some 
great musical composer could hear these semi-savage per- 
formances. With a very little skillful adaptation and in- 
strumentation, I think one or two barbaric chants and 
choruses might be evoked from them that would make 
the fortune of an opera. 

The only exception that I have met with yet among 
our boat voices to the high tenor which they seem all to 
possess is in the person of an individual named Isaac, a 
basso profondo of the deepest dye, who nevertheless never 
attempts to produce with his different register any differ- 
ent effects in the chorus by venturing a second, but sings 
like the rest in unison, perfect unison, of both time and 
tune. By-the-by, this individual does speak, and there- 
fore I presume he is not an ape, orang-outang, chimpan- 
zee, or gorilla; but I could not, I confess, have conceived 
it possible that the presence of articulate sounds, and the 


absence of an articulate tail, should make, externally at 
least, so completely the only appreciable difference be- 
tween a man and a monkey, as they appear to do in this 
individual " black brother." Such stupendous long thin 
hands, and, long flat feet, I did never see off a large quad- 
ruped of the ape species. But, as I said before, Isaac 
speaks, and I am much comforted thereby^ 

You can not think (to return to the songs of my boat- 
men) how strange soriie of their words are : in one, they 
repeatedly chanted the " sentiment" that " God made man, 
and man makes" — what do you think? — "money!" Is 
not that a peculiar poetical proposition ? Another dit^y 
to which they frequently treat me they call Csesar's song ; 
it is an extremely spirited war-song, beginning " The trum- 
pets blow, the bugles sound — Oh, stand your ground !" It 
has pUzzled me not a little to deterniine in my own mind 
whether this title of Caesar's song has any reference to 
the great Julius, and, if so, what may be the negro notion 
of him, and whence and how derived. One of their songs 
displeased me not a little, for it embodied the opinion 
that "twenty-six black girls not make mulatto yellow 
girl ;" and as I told them I did not like it, they have 
omitted it since. This desperate tendency to despise and 
undervalue their own race arid. color, which is one of the 
very worst results of their abject condition, is intolerable 
to me. 

While rowing up and . down the broad waters of the 
Altamaha to the music of these curious chants, I have 
been reading Mr. Moore's speech about the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia, and I confess I think 
his the only defensible position yet taken, and the only 
consistent argument yet used in any of the speeches I 
have hitherto seen upon the subject. 

I have now settled down at Hampton again ; Mr. 

is quite recovered, and is coming down here in a day or 


two for change of air ; it is getting too late for him to 
stay on the rice plantation even in the day, I think. Tou 
can not imagine any thing so exquisite as the perfect cur- 
tains of yellow jasmine with which this whole island is 
draped ; and as the boat comes sweeping down toward 
the Point, the fragrance from the thickets hung with their 
golden garlands greets one before one can distiuguisli 
them ; it is really enchanting. 

I have now to tell you of my hallowing last Sunday by 
gathering a congregation of the people into my big sit- 
ting-room, and reading prayers to them. I had been 
wishing very much to do this for some time past, and ob- 
tained Mr. 's leave while I was with him at the rice- 
island, and it was a great pleasure to me. Some of the 
people are allowed to go up to Darien once a month to 
church ; but, with that exception, they have no religious 
service on Sunday whatever for them. There is a church 
on the island of St. Simon, but they are forbidden to fre- 
quent it, as it leads them off their own through neighboi^ 
ing plantations, and gives opportunities for meetings be- 
tween the negroes of the different estates, and very likely 
was made the occasion of abuses and objectionable prac- 
tices of various kinds ; at any rate, Mr. K forbade 

the Hampton slaves resorting to the St. Simon's church, 
and so^or three Sundays in the month they are utterly 
without Christian worship or teaching, or any religious 
observance of God's day whatever. 

I was very anxious that it should not be thought that 
I ordered any of the people to come to prayers, as I par- 
ticularly desired to see if they themselves felt the want 
of any Sabbath service, and would of their own accord 
join in any such ceremony ; I therefore merely told the 
house servants that if they would come to the sitting- 
room at eleven o'clock, I would read prayers to them, 
and that they might tell any of their friends or any of the 


people that I should be very glad to seethem if they liked 
to come. Accordingly, most of those who live at the 
Point, i. e., in the immediate neighborhood of the house, 
came, and it was encouraging to see the very decided ef- 
forts at cleanliness and decorum of attire which they had 
all made. I was very much affected and impressed my- 
self by what I was doing, and I suppose must have com- 
municated some of my own feeling to those who heard 
me. It is an extremely solemn thing to me to read the 
Scriptures aloud to any one, and there was something in 
my relation to the poor people by whom I was surround- 
ed that touched me so deeply while thus attempting to 
share with them the best of my possessions, that I found 
it difficult to command my voice, and had to stop several 
times in order to do so. When I had done, they all with 
one accord uttered the simple words, " We thank you, 
missis," and instead of overwhelming me as usual with 
petitions and complaints, they rose silently and quietly, 
in a manner that would have become the most orderly of 
Christian congregations accustomed to all the impressive 
decorum of civilized church privileges. Poor people! 
They are said to have what a very irreligious young En- 
glish clergyman once informed me I had — a " turn for re- 
ligion." They seem to me to have a "turn" for instinc- 
tive good manners too ; and certainly their mode of with- 
drawing from my room after our prayers bespoke either 
a strong feeling of their own, or a keen appreciation of 

I have resumed my explorations in the woods with re- 
newed enthusiasm, for during my week's absence they 
have become more lovely and enticing than ever : unluck- 
ily, however. Jack seems to think that fresh rattlesnakes 
have budded together with the tender spring foliage, and 
r see that I shall either have to give up my wood walks 
and rides, or go without a guide. Lovely blossoms are 


springing up every where — weeds, of course, wild things, 
impertinently so called. Nothing is cultivated here but 
cotton ; but in some of the cotton-fields beautiful orear 
tures are peeping into blossom, which I suppose will all 
be duly hoed off the surface of the soil in proper season; 
meantime I rejoice in them, and in the splendid, magnifi- 
cent thistles, which would be in flower-gardens in other 
parts of the world, and in the wonderful, strange, beau- 
tiful butterflies that seem to me almost as big as birds, 
that go zigzagging in the sun. I saw yesterday a lovely 
monster, who thought proper, for my greater delectation, 
to alight on a thistle I was admiring, and as the flower 
was purple, and he was all black velvet fringed with gold, 
I was exceedingly pleased with his good inspiration. 

This morning I drove up to the settlement at St. An- 
nie's, having various bundles of benefaction to carry in the 
only equipage my estate here affords — an exceedingly 
small, rough, and uncomfortable cart, called the sick-house 
wagon, inasmuch as it is used to convey to the hospital 
such of the poor people as are too ill to walk there. Its 
tender mercies must be terrible indeed for the sick, for I, 
who am sound, could very hardly abide them ; however, 
I suppose Montreal's pace is moderated for them : to-day 
he went rollicking along with us behind him; shaking his 
■fine head and mane, as if he thought the more we were 
jolted the better we should like it. We f^und, on trying 
to go on to Cartwi'ight's Point, that the state of the tide 
would not admit of our getting thither, and so had to re- 
turn, leaving it unvisited. It seems to me strange that, 
where the labor of so many hands might be commanded, 
piers, and wharves, and causeways are not thrown out 
(wooden ones, of course, I mean) wherever the common 
traffic to or from different parts of the plantation is thus 
impeded by the daily rise and fall of the river ; the trouble 
and expense would be nothing, and the gain in conven- 


ience very consideraWe. , However, perhaps the nature of 
the tides, and of the banlis and shores themselves, may 
not be propitious for such constructions, and I rather in- 
cline, upon reflection, to thiuk this may be so, because to 
go from Hampton to our neighbor Mr. C-^ — -b plantation, 
it is necessary to consult the tide in order to land conven- 
iently. Driving home to-day by Jones's Creek, we saw 
an immovable row of white cranes, all standing with im- 
perturbable gravity upon one leg. I thought of Boccac- 
cio's cook, and had a mind to say Ha ! at them, to try if 

they had two. I have been over to Mr. C 's, and was 

very much pleased with my visit, but will tell you of it in 
my next. 

Dear E-: — ,— I promised to tell you of my visit to my 

neighbor Mr. C , which pleased and interested me very 

much. He is an old Glasgow man, who has been settled 
here many years. It is curious how many of the people 
round this neighborhood have Scotch names ; it seems 
strange to find them thus gathered in the vicinity of a 
new Darien ; but those ia our immediate neighborhood 
seem to have found it a far less fatal region than their 

countrymen did its namesake of the Isthmus. Mr. C 's 

house is a roomy, comfortable, handsomely laid-out man- 
sion, to which he received me with very cordial kindness, 
and where I spent part of a very pleasant morning, talk- 
ing with him, hearing all he could tell me of the former 

history of Mr. 's plantation. His description of its 

former master, old Major , and of his agent and over- 
seer Mr. K , and of that gentleman's worthy son and 

successor the late overseer, interested me very much ; of 

' the two latter functionaries his account was terrible, and 

much what I had supposed any impartial account of them 

would be ; because, let the propensity to lying of the poor 


■wretched slaves be what it will, they could not invent, 
with a common consent, the things that they one and all 
tell me with reference to the manner in which they have 
been treated by the man who has just left the estate, and 
his father, who for the last nineteen years have been sole 
sovereigns of their bodies and souls. The crops have sat- 
isfied the demands of the owners, who, living in Philadel- 
phia, have been perfectly contented to receive a large in- 
come from their estate without apparently caring how it 
was earned. The stories that the poor people tell me of 
the cruel tyranny under which they have lived are not 
complaints, for they are of things past and gone, and very 
often, horridly as they shock and affect me, they them- 
selves seem hardly more than half conscious of the misery 
their condition exhibits to me, and they speak of things 
which I shudder to hear of almost as if they had been 
matters of course with them. 

Old Mr. C spoke with extreme kindness of his own 

people, and had evidently bestowed much humane and 
benevolent pains upon endeavors to better their condition. 
I asked him if he did not think the soil and climate of this 
part of Georgia admirably suited to the cultivation of the 
mulberry and the rearing of the silkworm ; for it has ap- 
peared to me that hereafter silk may be made one of the 
most profitable products of this whole region : he said 
that that had long been his opinion, and he had at one 
time had it much at heart to try the experiment, and had 

proposed to Major to join him in it, on a scale large 

enough to test it satisfactorily ; but he said Mr. K 

opposed the scheme so persistently that of course it was 
impossible to carry it out, as his agency and co-operation 
were indispensable; and that. in like manner he had sug- 
gested sowing turnip crops, and planting peach-trees for 
the benefit and use of the people on the Hampton estate, 
experiments which he had tried with excellent success on 


his own; but all these plans for the amelioration and 
progress of the people's physical condition had been ob- 
structed and finally put. entirely aside by old Mr. K 

and his son, who, as Mr. C '■ said, appeared to give sat- 
isfaction to their employers, so it was not his business to 
find fault with them; he said, however, that the whole 
condition and treatment of the slaves had changed from 

the time of Major 's death, and that he thought it 

providential for the poor people that Mr. K should 

have left the estate, and the young gentleman, the pres- 
ent owner, come down to look after the people. 

He showed me his garden, from whence come the beau- 
tiful vegetables he had more than once supplied me with ; 
in the midst of it was a very fine and flourishing date- 
palm-tree, which he said bore its fruit as prosperously 
here as it would in Asia. After the garden we visited a 
charrning, nicely-kept poultry-yard, and I returned home 
much delighted with my visit and the kind good-humor 
of my host. 

In the afternoon I sat as usual at the receipt of custom, 
hearing of aches and pains till I ached myself sympathet- 
ically from head to foot. 

Yesterday morning, dear E , I went on horseback 

to St. Annie's, exploring on my way some beautiful woods, 
and in the afternoon I returned thither in a wood-wagon, 
with Jack to drive and a mule to draw me, Montreal be- 
ing quite beyond his management; and then and there, 
the hatchet and saw being in compaiiy, I compelled my 
slave Jack, all the rattlesnakes in creation to the contrary 
notwithstanding, to cut and clear a way for my chariot 
through the charming copse. 

My letter has been lying unfinished for the last three 
days. I have been extraordinarily busy, having emanci- 
pated myself from the trammels of Jack and all his terror, 
and as I fear no serpents on horseback, have been daily 


226 jouENAL o:p 

riding through, new patches of •woodland without any. 
guide, taking my chance of what I might come to in the 
shape of impediments. Last Tuesday I rode through a 
whole wood of burned and charred trees, cypresses and 
oaks, that looked as if they had been each of them blasted 
by a special thunderbolt, and whole thickets of young 
trees and shrubs perfectly black and .brittle from the ef- 
fect of fire, I suppose the result of some carelessness of 
the slaves. As this charcoal woodland extended for some 
distance, I turned out of it, and round the main road 
through the plantation, as I could not ride through the 
blackened boughs and branches without getting begrimed. 
It had a strange, wild, desolate efiect, not without a cer- 
tain gloomy picturesqueness. 

In the afternoon I made Israel drive me through Jack's 
new-made path to break it down and open it stiU more, 
and Montreal's powerful trampling did good service to 
that effect, though he did not seem to relish the narrow 
wood road with its grass path by any means as much as 
the open way of what may be called the high road. Aft- 
er this operation I went on to visit the people at the Bus- 
son Hill settlement. I here found, among other notewor- 
thy individuals, a female named Judy, whose two children 
belong to an individual called (not Punch, but) Joe, who 
has another wife, called Mary, at the rice-island. In one 
of the huts I went to leave some flannel, and rice, and sug- 
ar for a poor old creature called Nancy, to whom I had 
promised such indulgences : she is exceedingly infirm and 
miserable, sufiering from sore limbs and an ulcerated leg 
so cruelly that she can hardly find rest in any position 
from the constant pain she endures, and is quite unable to 
lie on her hard bed at night. As I bent over her to-day, 
trying to prop her into some posture where she might find 
some ease, she took hold of my hand, and with the tears 
streaming over her face, said, " I have worked every day 


through dew and damp, and sand and heat, and done good 
work ; but oh, missis, me old and broken now ; no tongue 
can tell how much I suffer." In spite of their curious 
thick utterance and comical jargon, these people some- 
times use wonderfully striking and pathetic forms of 
speech. In the next cabin, which consisted of an inclo- 
sure called by courtesy a room, certainly not ten feet 
square, and owned by a woman called Dice — that is, not 
owned, of course, but inhabited by her — three grown-up 
human beings and eight children stow themselves by day 
and night, which may be called close packing, I think. I 
presume that th.ey must take turns to be inside and out- 
side the house, but they did not make any complaint about 
it, though I should think the aspect of my countenance, as 
I surveyed their abode and heard their numbers, might 
have given them a hint to that effect ; but I really do find 
these poor creatures patient of so much misery, that it in- 
clines me the more to heed as well as hear their petitions 
and complaints when they bring them to me. 

After my return home I had my usual evening recep- 
tion, and, among other pleasant incidents of plantation 
life, heard the following agreeable anecdote from a wom- 
an named Sophy, who came to beg for some rice. In ask- 
ing her about her husband and children, she said she had 
never had any husband ; that she had had two children 
by a white man of the name of "Walker, who was employ- 
ed at the mill on the rice-island ; she was in the hospital 
after the birth of the second child she bore this man, and 
at the same time two women, Judy and Sylla, of whose 

children Mr. K was the father, were recovering from 

their confinements. It wag got a month since any of them 
had been delivered, when Mrs. K came to the, hospi- 
tal, had them all three severely flogged, a process which 
s7ie personally superintended, and then sent them to Five 
Pound — the swamp Botany Bay of the. plantation, of 


which I have told you — with farther orders to the drivers 

to flog them every day for a week. Now, E , if I 

make you sick with these disgusting stories, I can not 
help it ; they are the life itself here ; hitherto I have 
thought these details intolerable enough, but this appari- 
tion of a female fiend in the middle of this heU I confess 
adds an element of cruelty which seems to me to surpass 
all the rest. Jealousy is not an uncommon quality in the 
feminine temperament ; and just conceive the fate of these 
unfortunate women between the passions of their masters 
and mistresses, each alike armed with power to oppress 
and torture them. Sophy went on to say that Isaac was 
her son by Driver Morris, who had forced her while she 
was in her miserable exile at Five Pound. Almost be- 
yond my patience with this string of detestable details, I 
exclaimed — foolishly enough, heaven knows — "Ah! but 
don't you know— did nobody ever tell or teach any of 
you that it is a sin to live with men who are not your hus- 
bands ?" Alas ! E , what could the poor creature an- 
swer but what she did, seizing me at the same time vehe- 
mently by the wrist : " Oh yes, missis, we know — we know 
aU about dat well enough ; but we do any. thing to get 
our poor flesh some rest from de whip ; when he made 
me follow him into de bush, what use me tell him no ? he 
have strength to make me." I have written down the 
woman's words ; I wish I could write down the voice and 
look of abject misery with which they were spoken. Now 
you will observe that the story was not told to me as a 
complaint ; it was a thing long past and over, of which 
she only spoke in the natural Course of accounting for her 
children to me. I make no comment ; what need, or can 
I add, to such stories ? But how is such a state of things 
to endure? and again, how is it to end? While I was 
pondering, as it seemed to me, at the very bottom of the 
Slough of Despond, on this miserable creature's story, an- 


Other woman came in (Tema), carrying in her arms a child 
the image of the mulatto Bran ; she came to beg for flan- 
nel. I asked her who was her husband. She said she 
was not married. Her child is the child of Bricklayer 
Temple, who has a wife at the rice-island. By this time, 
what do you think of the moralities, as well as the amen- 
ities, of slave life ? These are the conditions which'can 
only be known to one- who lives among them ;' flagrant 
acts of cruelty ma.y^be rare, but this inefiable state of ut- 
ter degradation, this really beastly existence, is the nor- 
mal condition of these men anS women, and of that no one 
seems to take heed, nor have I ever heard it described, so 
as to form any adequate conception of it, tUl I found my- 
self plunged into it ; where and how is one to begin the 
cleansing of this horrid pestilential immondezzio of an ex- 
istence ? 

It is Wednesday, the 20th of March ; we can not stay 
here much longer ; I wonder if I shall come back again ! 
and whether, when I do, I shall find the trace of one idea 
of a better life left 'in these poor people's minds by my so- 
journ among them. 

One of my industries this morning has been cutting out 
another dress for one of our women, who had heard of my 
tailoring prowess at the rice-island. The material, as 
usual, was a miserable cotton, many-colored like the scarf 
of Iris. While shaping it for my client, I ventured to sug- 
gest the idea of the possibility of a change of the nether- 
most as well as the uppermost garment. This, I imagine, 
is a conception that has never dawned upon the female 
slave mind on this plantation. They receive twice a year 
a certain supply of clothing, and wear them (as I have 
heard some nasty fine ladies do their stays, for fear they 
should get out of shape), without washing, till they receive 
the next suit. Under these circumstances I think it is 
unphilosophical, to say the least of it, to speak of the ne- 


groes as a race whose unfragranee is heaven-ordained, and 
the result of special organization, 

I must tell you that I have been delighted, surprised, 
and the very least perplexed, by the sudden petition on 
the part of our young waiter, Aleck, that I will teach him 
to read. He is a very intelligent lad of about sixteen, 
and preferred his request with an urgent humility that 
was very touching. I told him I would think about it. I 
mean to do it. I will do it ; and yet, it is simply break- 
ing the laws of the government under which I am living. 
Unrighteous laws are madS to be hi-dken— perhaps — but 

then, you see, I am a woman, and Mr. stands between 

me and the penalty. If I were a man, I would do that 
and many a thing besides, and doubtless should be shot 
some fine day from behind a tree by some good neighbor, 
who would do the community a service by quietly getting 
rid of a mischievous incendiary ; and I promise you, in 
such a case, no questions would be asl^ed, and my lessons 
would come to a speedy and silent end; but teaching 
slaves to read is a finable offense, andl.amyewe couverte, 
and my fines must be paid by my legal owner, and the 
first ofiense of the sort is heavily fined, and the second 
more heavily fined, and for the third, one is sent to prison. 
What a pity it is I can't begin with Aleck's third lesson, 
because going to prison can't be done by proxy, and that 
penalty would light upon the right shoulders ! I certain- 
ly intend to teach Aleck to read. I certainly won't tell 

Mr. any thing about it. I'll leave him to find it out, 

as slaves, and servants, and children, and all oppressed, 
and ignorant, and uneducated and unprincipled people do ; 
then, if he forbids me, I can stop — perhaps before then 
the lad may have learned his letters. I begin to perceive 
one most admirable circumstance in this slavery : you are 
absolute on your own plantation. No slaves' testimony 
avails against you, and no white testimony exists but such 


as you choose to admit. Some owners have a fancy for 
maiming their slaves, some brand them, some pull out 
their teeth, some shoot them a little here and there (all 
details gathered from advertisements of runaway slaves in 
Southern papers) ; now they do all this on their planta- 
tions, where nobody comes to see, and I'll teach Aleck to 
read, for nobody is here to see, at least nobody whose see- 
ing I mind ; and I'll teach every other creature that wants 
to learn. I haven't much more than a week to remain in 
this blessed purgatory ; in that last week perhaps I may 
teach the boy enough to go on alone when I am gone. 

Thursday, 21s<. I took a long ride to-day all through 
some new woods and fields, and finally came upon a large 
space sown with corn for the people. Here I was accost- 
ed by such a shape as I never beheld in the worst of my 
dreams ; it looked at first, as it came screaming toward 
me, like a live specimen of the arms of the Isle of Man, 
which, as you may or may not know, are three legs joined 
together, and kicking in different directions. This uncouth 
device is not an invention of the Manxmen, for it is found 
on some very ancient coins — Greek, I believe ; but, at any 
rate, it is now the device of our subject Island of Man, 
and, like that set in motion, and nothing else, was the ob- 
ject that approached me, only it had a head where the 
three legs were.joined, and a voice came out of the head 
to this effect : " Oh, missis, you hab to take me out of dis 
here bird-field ; me no able to run after birds, and ebery 
night me lick because me no run after dem." When this 
apparition reached me and stood as still as it could, I per- 
ceived it consisted of a boy who said his name was "Jack 
de'bird-driver." I suppose some vague idea of the fitness 
of things had induced them to send this living scarecrow 
into the cornfield, and if he had been set up in the midst 
of it, nobody, I am sure, would have imagined he was any 
thing else ; but it seems he was expected to run after the 

232 JOUENAl OB" 

feathered fowl who alighted on the grain-field, and I do not 
wonder that he did not fulfill this expectation. His feet, 
legs, and knees were all maimed and distorted, his legs 
were nowhere thicker than my wrist, his feet were a yard 
apart from each other, and his knees swollen and knocking 
together. What a creature to run after birds! He im- 
plored me to give him some meat, and have him sent back 
to Little St. Simon's Island, from which he came, and 
where he said his poor limbs were stronger and better. 

Riding home, I passed some sassafras-trees, which are 
putting forth deliciously fragrant tassels of small leaves 
and blossoms, and other exquisite flowering shrubs, which 
are new to me, and enchant me perhaps all the more for 
their strangeness. Before reaching the house I was 
stopped by one of our multitudinous Jennies with a re- 
quest for some meat, and that I would help her with some 
clothes for Ben and Daphne,, of whom she had the sole 
charge ; these are two extremely pretty and interesting- 
looking mulatto children, whose resemblance to Mr. 

K had induced me to ask Mr. , when first I saw 

them, if he did not think they must be his children. He 

said they were certainly like him, but Mr. K did not 

acknowledge the relationship. I asked Jenny who their 
mother was. "Minda." "Who their father?" "Mr. 

K :" "What! old Mr. K ?" "No, Mr. R 

K ." " Who told you so ?" " Minda, who ought to 

know." "Jilr. "K denies it." "That's because he 

never has looked upon them, nor done a thing for them." 
" Well, but he acknowledged Renty as his son, why should 
he deny these?" "Because old niaster was here then 
when Renty was born, and he made Betty tell all about 

it, and Mr. K had to own it ; but nobody knows any 

thing about this, and so he denies it" — with which infor- 
mation I rode home. I always give you an exact report 
of any conversation I may have with any of the people. 


and you see from this that the people on the plantation 

themselves are much of my worthy neighbor Mr. C 's 

mind, that the death of Major was a great misfor- 
tune for the slaves on his estate. 

I went to the hospital this afternoon to see if the con- 
dition of the poor people was at all improved since I had 
been last there ; but nothing had been done. I suppose 

Mr. Gr is waiting for Mr. to come down in order 

to speak to him about it. I found some miserable new 
cases of women disabled by hard work. One poor thing, 
called Priscilla, had come out of the fields to-day scarcely 
able to crawl ; she has been losing blood for a whole fort- 
night without intermission, and, untU. to-day, was labor- 
ing in the fields. Leah, another new face since I visited 
the hospital last, is lying quite helpless from exhaustion ; 
she is advanced in her pregnancy, and doing task-work in 
the fields at the same time. What piteous existences, to 
be sure ! I do wonder, as I walk among them, well fed, 
well clothed, young, strong, idle, doing nothing but ride 
and drive about all day, a woman, a creature like them- 
selves, who have borne children too, what sort of feeling 
they have toward me. I wonder it is not one of murder- 
ous hate — that they should lie here almost dying with un- 
repaid labor for me. I stand and look at them, and these 
thoughts work in my mind and heart, till I feel as if I 
must tell them how dreadful and how monstrous it seems 
to me myself, and how bitterly ashamed and grieved I 
feel for it all. 

To-day I rode in the morning round poor Cripple Jack's 
bird-field again, through the sweet, spicy-smelling pine 
land, and home by my new road cut through Jones's wood, 
of which I am as proud as if I had made instead of found 
it — ^the grass, flowering shrubs, and all. In the afternoon 
I drove in the wood-wagon back to Jones's, and visited 
Busson Hill on the way, with performances of certain 

234 JOUENAi oi- 

promises of flannel, quarters of dollars, etc., etc. At Jones's, 
the women to-day had all done their work at a quarter 
past three, and had swept their huts out very scrupulously 
for my reception. Their dwellings are shockingly dilapi- 
dated and overcrammed — poor creatm-es! — and it seems 
hard that, while exhorting them to spend labor in clean- 
ing and making them tidy, I can not promise them that 
they shall be repaired and made habitable for them. 

In driving home through my new wood cut. Jack gave 
me a terrible account of a flogging that a negro called 
Glasgow had received yesterday. He seemed awfully im- 
pressed with it, so I suppose it must have been an un- 
usually severe punishment; but he either would not or 
could not tell me what the man had done. On my return 

to the house I found Mr. had come down from the 

rice plantation, whereat I was much delighted on all ac- 
counts. I am sure it is getting much too late for him to 
remain in that pestilential swampy atmosphere ; besides, 
I want him to see my improvements in the new wood 
paths, and I want him to come and hear all these poor 
people's complaints and petitions himself. They have 
been flocking in to see him ever since it was known he 
had arrived. I met coming on that errand Dandy, the 
husband of the woman for whom I cut out the gown the 
other day ; and asking him how it had answered, he gave 
a piteous account of its tearing all to pieces the first time 
she put it on; it had appeared to me perfedtly rotten 
and good for nothing, and, upon questioning him as to 
where he bought it and what he paid for it, I had to hear 
a sad account of hardship and injustice. I have told you 
that the people collect moss from the trees and sell it to 
the shopkeepers in Darien for the purpose of stufBng fur- 
niture ; they also raise poultry, and are allowed to dispose . 
of the eggs in the same way. It seems that poor Dandy 
had taken the miserable material Edie's gown was made 


of as payment for a quantity of mosa and eggs furnished 
by him at various times to one of the Darien storekeepers, 
who refused him payment in any other shape, and the poor 
fellow had no redress ; and this, he tells me, is a frequent 
experience with all the slaves both here and at the rice- 
island. Of course, the rascally shopkeepers can cheat 
these poor wretches to any extent they please with per- 
fect impunity. 

Mr. told me of a visit Renty paid him, which was 

not a little curious in some of its particulars. Tou know 
none of the slaves are allow^ed the use of fire-arms ; but 

Renty put up a petition to be allowed Mr. K ^"s gun, 

which it seegs that gentleman left behind him. Mr. 

refused this petition, saying at the same time to the lad 
that he knew very well that none of the people were 
allowed guns. Renty expostulated on the score of his 
white blood, and finding his master uninfluenced by that" 
consideration, departed with some severe reflections on 

Mr. K , his father, foj* not having left him his gun as 

a keepsake, in token of (paternal) afiection, when he left 
the plantation. 

It is quite late, and I am very tired, though I have not 
done much more than usual to-day, but the weather is be- 
ginning to be oppressive to nie,who hate heat; but I find 
the people, and especially the sick in the hospital, speak 
of it as cold. I wUl tell you hereafter of a most comical 

account Mr. has given me of the prolonged and still 

protracted pseudo-pregnancy of a woman called Markie, 
who for many more months than are generally required 
for the process of continuing the human species, pretend- 
ed to be what the Germans pathetically and poetically 
call " in good hope," and continued to reap increased ra- 
tions as the reward of her expectation, till she finally had 
to disappoint the estate and receive a flogging. 

He told me, too, what interested me very much, of a 


conspiracy among Mr. C ^"s slaves some years ago. 

I can not tell you about it now ; I will some other time. 
It is wonderful to me that such attempts are not being 
made the whole time among these people to regain their 
liberty; probably because many are made ineffectually, 
and never known beyond the limits of the plantation 
where they take place. 

Deae E — ^-, — ^We have been having something like 
Northern March weather — blinding sun, blinding wind, 
and blinding dust, through all which, the day before yes- 
terday, Mr. and I rode together round most of the 

fields, and over the greater part of the plantation. It was 
a detestable process, the more so that he rode Montreal 
and I Miss Kate, and we had no small difficulty in mana- 
■ging them both. In the afternoon we had an equally de- 
testable drive through the new wood paths to St. Annie's, 
and having accomplished all my errands among the peo- 
ple there, we crossed over certain sounds, and seas, and 
separating waters, to pay a neighborly visit to the wife 
of one of our adjacent planters. 

How impossible it would be for you to conceive, even 
if I could describe, the careless desolation which pervaded 
the whole place ; the shaggy unkempt grounds we passed 
through to approach the house; the ruinous, rackrent, 
tumble-down house itself; the untidy, slatternly, all but 
beggarly appearance of the mistress of the mansion her- 
self. The smallest Yankee farmer has a tidier estate, a 
tidier house, and a tidier wife than this member of the 
proud Southern chivalry, who, however, inasmuch as he 
has slaves, is undoubtedly a much greater personage in 

his own estimation than those capital fellows W and 

B , who walk in glory and in joy behind their plows 

upon your mountain sides. The Brunswick Canal project 


was descanted upon, and pronounced, without a shadow 
of dissent, a scheme the impracticability of which all but 
convicted its projectors of insanity. Certainly, if, as I 
hear, the moneyed men of Boston have gone largely into 
this speculation, their habitual sagacity must have been 
seriously at fault, for here on the spot nobody liientions 
the project but as a subject of utter derision. 

While the men discussed about this matter, Mrs. B 

favored me with the congratulations I have heard so many 
times on the subject of my having a white nursery-maid 
for my children. Of course, she went into the old subject 
of the utter incompetency of negro women to discharge 
such an oflSce faithfully ; but, in spite of her multiplied 
examples of their utter inefficiency, I believe the discus- 
sion ended by simply our both agreeing that ignorant ne- 
gro girls of twelve years old are not as capable or trust- 
worthy as well-trained white women of thirty. . 

Returning home, our route was changed, and Quash the 
boatman took us all the way round by water to Hampton. 
I should have told you-that our exit was as wild as our 
entrance to this estate, and was made through a broken 
wooden fence, which we had to climb partly over and 
partly under, with some risk and some obloquy, in spite 
of our dexterity, as I tore my dress, and very nearly fell 
flat on my face in the process. Our row home was per- 
fectly enchanting; for, though the morning's wind and 
(I suppose) the state of the tide had roughened the waters 
of the great river, and our passage was not as smooth as 
it might have been, the wind had died away, the evening 
air was ;deliciously still, and mild,-and soft. A young slip 
of a :moon glimmered just above the horizon, and "the 
stars climbed up the sapphire steps of heaven," while we 
made our wa,y.' over the rolling, rushing, foaming waves, 
and saw to right and left the marsh fires burning in the 
swampy meadows, adding another colored light in the 

238 J0UENAI4 or 

landscape to the amlber-tinted lower sky and the violet 
arch above, and giving wild picturesqueness to the whole 
scene by throwing long flickering rays of flame upon the 
distant waters. 

Sunday, the lUh. I read service again to-day to the 
people. You can not conceive any thing more impressive 
than the silent devotion of their whole demeanor while it 
lasted, nor more touching than the profound thanks with 
which they rewarded me when it was over, and they took 
their leave ; and to-day they again left me with the utmost 
decorum of deportment, and without pressing a single pe- 
tition or complaint such as they ordinarily thrust upon 
me on all other occasions, which seems to me an instinct- 
ive feeling of religious respect for the day and the business 
they have come upon, which does them infinite credit. 

In the afternoon I took a long walk with the chicks in 

the woods — long at least for the little legs of S and 

M — '■ — , who carried baby. We came home by the shore, 
and I stopped to look at a jutting point, just below which 
a sort of bay would have afforded the most capital posi- 
tion for a bathing-house. If we staid here late in the sea- 
son, such a refreshment would become almost a necessary 
of life, and any where along the bank just where I stopped 
to examine it to-day an establishraent for that purpose 
might be prosperously founded. 

I am amused, but by no means pleased, at an entirely 
new mode of pronouncing which S has adopted. Ap- 
parently the negro jargon has commended itself as eupho- 
nious to her infantile ears, and she is now treating me to 
the most ludicrous and accurate imitations of it every 
time she opens her mouth. Gf course I shall not allow 
this, comical as it is, to become a habit. This is the way 
the Southern ladies acquire the thick and inelegant pro- 
nunciation which distinguishes their utterances from the 
Northern snuffle, and I have no desire that S^ should 


adorn her motlier tongue with either peculiarity. It is a 
curious and sad enough thing to ohserve, as I have fre- 
quent opportunities of doing, the unbounded insolence and 
tyranny (of manner, of course it can go no farther) of the 
slaves toward each other. " Hi ! yoti boy !" and " Hi ! 
you girl !" shouted in an imperious gcream, is the civilest 
mode of apostrophizing those at a distance from them ; 
more frequently it is " Tou niggar, you hear ? hi ! you 
niggar !" And I assure you no contemptuous white in- 
tonation ever equaled the prepotetisa of the despotic inso- 
lence of this address of these poor wretches to each other. 
I have left my letter lying for a couple of days, dear 
E . I have been busy and tired ; my walking and rid- 
ing is becoming rather more laborious to me, for, though 
nobody here appears to do so, I am beginning to feel the 
relaxing influence of the spring. 

The day before yesterday I took a disagreeable ride, 
all through swampy fields, and charred, blackened thick- 
ets, to discover nothing either picturesque or beautiful; 
the woods in one part of the plantation Jiave been on fire 
for three days, and a whole tract of exquisite evergreens 
has been burnt down to the ground. In the afternoon I 
drove in the wood-wagon to visit the people at St. Annie's. 
There has been rain these last two nights, and their 
wretched hovels do not keep out the weather ; they are 
really miserable abodes for human beings. I think pigs • 
who were at all particular might object to some of them. 
There is a woman at this settlement called Sophy, the 
wife of a driver, Morris, who is so pretty that I often won- 
der if it is only by contrast that I admire her so much, or 
if her gentle, sweet, refined face, in spite of its dusky col- 
or, would not approve itself any where to any one with 
an eye for beauty. Her manner and voice, too, are pecul- 
iarly soft and gentle ; but, indeed, the voices of all these 
poor people, men as well as women, are much pleasanter 


and more melodious than the voices of white people "in 
general. Most of the wretched hovels had been swept 
and tidied out in expectation of my visit, and many were 
the consequent petitions for rations of meat, flannel, osna- 
burgs, etc. ; promising all which, in due proportion to the 
cleanliness of each separate dwelling, I came away. On 
my way home I called for a moment at Jones's settlement 
to leave money and presents promised to the people there 
for similar improvement in the condition of their huts. I 
had not time to stay and distribute my benefactions my- 
self, and so appointed a particularly bright, intelligent- 
looking woman, called Jenny, paymistress in my stead, 
and her deputed authority was received with the utmost 
cheerfulness by them all. 

I have been having a long talk with Mr. about 

Ben and Daphne, those two young mulatto children of 
Mr. K 's, whom I mentioned to you lately. Poor pret- 
ty children ! tliey have refined and sensitive faces as well 
as straight, regular features ; and the expression of the 
girl's countenance, as well as the sound of her voice, and 
the sad humility of her deportment, are indescribably 

touching. Mr. B- expressed the strongest interest in 

and pity for them, because of their color: it seems unjust 
almost to the rest of their fellow-unfortunates that this 
should be so, and yet it is almost impossible to resist the 
impression of the unfitness of these two forlorn young 
creatures for the life of coarse labor and dreadful degra- 
dation to which they are destined. In any of the South- 
ern cities the girl would be pretty sure to be reserved for 
a worse fate ; but even here, death seems to me a thou- 
sand times preferable to the life that is before her. 

In the afternoon I rode with Mr. to look at the 

fire in the woods. We did not approach it, but stood 
where the great volumes of smoke could be seen rising 
steadily above the pines, as they have now continued to 


do for upward of a week ; the destruction of the pine tim- 
ber must be something enormous. We then weij^ to visit 
Dr. and Mrs. G , and wound up these exercises of civ- 
ilized life by a call on dear old Mr. C- , whose nursery 

and kitchen garden are a real refreshment to my spirits. 
How completely the natfonal character of the worthy 
canny old Scot is stamped on the care and thrift visible 
in his whole property, the judicious, successful culture of 
which has improved and adorned his dwelling in this re- 
mote corner of the earth! The comparison, or rather 
contrast, between himself and his quondam neighbor. Ma- 
jor , is curious enough- to contemplate. The Scotch 

tendency of the one to turn every thing to good account, 
the Irish propensity of the other to leave every thing to 
ruin, to disorder, and neglect ; the careful economy and 
prudent management of the mercantile man, the reckless 
profusion and careless extravagance of the soldier. The 
one made a splendid fortune and spent it in Philadelphia, 
where he built one of the finest houses that existed there 
in the old-fashioned days, when fine old family mansions 
were still to be seen breaking the monotonous uniformity 
of the Quaker city. The other has resided here on his es- 
tate, ameliorating the condition of his slaves and his prop- 
erty, a benefactor to the people and the soil alike — a use- 
ful and a good existence, an obscure, and tranquil one. 

Last Wednesday we drove to Hamilton, by far the finest 
estate on St. Simon's Island. The gentleman to whom it 
belongs lives, I believe, habitually in Paris ; but Captain 

F resides on it, and, I suppose, is the real overseer of 

the plantation. All the way along the road (we traversed 
nearly the whole length of the island) we found great 
tracts of wood all burnt or burning; the destruction had 
spread in every direction, and against the sky we saw the 
slow rising of the smoky clouds that showed the pine for- 
est to be on fire still. What an immense quantity of 



property such a fire must destroy ! The negro huts on 
several »{ the plantations that we passed through were 
the most miserable human habitations I ever beheld. The 
wretched hovels at St. Annie's, on the Hampton estate, 
that had seemed to me the ne plus ultra of misery, were 
really palaces to some of the dirty, desolate, dilapidated 
dog-kennels which we passed to-day, and out of which the 
negroes poured like black ants at our approach, and stood 
to gaze at ns as we drove by. 

The planters' residences we passed were only three. It 
makes one ponder seriously when one thinks of the mere 
handful of white people on this island. In the midst of 
this large population of slaves, how absolutely helpless 
they would be if the blacks were to become restive ! They 
could be destroyed to a man before human help could 
reach them from the main, or the tidings even of what 
was going on be carried across the surrounding waters. 
As we approached the southern end of the island we be- 
gan to discover the line of the white sea-sands beyond the 
bushes and fields, and presently, above the sparkling, daz- 
zling line of snowy white — ^for the sands were as white as 
our English chalk chfi's — stretched the deep blue sea-line 
of the great Atlantic Ocean. 

We found that there had been a most terrible fire in 
the Hamilton woods — ^more extensive than that on our 
own plantation. It seems as if the whole island had been 
burning at different points for more than a week. What 
a cruel pity and shame it does seem to have these beauti- 
ful masses of wood so destroyed ! I suppose it is impos- 
sible to prevent it. The " field-hands" make fires to cook 
their midday food wherever they happen to be working, 
and sometimes through their careless neglect, but some- 
times, too, undoubtedly on purpose, the woods are set fire 
to by these means. One benefit they consider that they 
derive from the process is the destruction of the dreaded 


rattlesnakes that infest the woodland all over the island ; 
but really the funeral pyre of these hateful reptiles is too 
costly at this price. 

Hamilton struck me very much — ^I mean the whole ap- 
pearance of the place ; the situation of the house, the no- 
ble water prospect it commanded, the magnificent old oaks 
near it, a luxuriant vine trellis, and a splendid hedge of 
yucca gloriosa, were all objects of great delight to me. 
The latter was most curious to me, who had never seen 
any but single specimens of the plant, and not many of 
these. I think our green-house at the North boasts but 
two ; but here they were growing close together, and in 
such a manner as to forin a compact and impenetrable 
hedge, their spiky leaves striking out on all sides like cAe- 
vaux de /rise, and the tall, slender stems, that bear those 
delicate ivory-colored bells of blossoms, springing up 
against the sky in a regular row. I wish I could see that 
hedge in blossom. It must be wonderfully strange and 
lovely, and must look by moonlight like a whole range of 
fairy Chinese pagodas carved in ivory. 

At dinner we had some delicious green peas, so much 
in advance of you are we down here with the seasons. 
Don't you think one might accept the rattlesnakes, or per- 
haps indeed the slavery, for the sake of the green peas ? 
'Tis a world of compensations — a life of compromises, you 
know ; and one should learn to set one thing against an- 
other if one means to thrive and fare well, i. e., eat green 
peas on the twenty-eighth of March. 

After dinner I walked up and down before the house 
for a long while with Mrs. F , and had a most inter- 
esting Conversation with her about the negroes and all the 
details of their condition. She is a kind-hearted, intelli- 
gent woman ; but, though she seemed to me to acquiesce, 
as a matter of inevitable necessity, in the social system in 
the midst of which she was born and lives, she did not ap- 


pear to me, by several things she said, to be by any means 
in love with it. She gave me a very sad character of Mr. 

K , confirming by her general description of him the 

impression produced by all the details I have received 
from our own people. As for any care for the moral or 
religious training of the slaves, that, she said, was a mat- 
ter that never troubled his thoughts ; indeed, his only no- 
tion upon the subject of religion, she said, was that it was 
something not had for white women and children. 

We drove home by moonlight ; and as we came toward 
the woods in the middle of the island, the fireflies glitter- 
ed out from the dusky thickets as if some magical golden 
veil was every now and then shaken out into the dark- 
ness. The air was enchantingly mild and soft, and the 
whole way through the silvery night delightful. 

My dear friend,! have at length made acquaintance 
with a live rattlesnake. Old Scylla had the pleasure of 
discovering it while hunting for some wood to burn. Is- 
rael captured it, and brought it to the house for my edi- 
fication. I thought it an evil-looking beast, and could not 
help feeling rather nervous while contemplating it, though 
the poor thing had a noose round its neck, and could by 
no manner of means have extricated itself. The flat head, 
and vivid, vicious eye, and darting tongue, were none of 
them lovely to behold.; but the sort of threatening whirr 
produced by its rattle, together with the deepening and 
fading of the marks on its skin, either with its respiration, 
or the emotions of fear and anger it was enduring, were 
peculiarly dreadful and fascinating. It was quite a young 
one, having only two or three rattles in its tail. These, 
as you probably know, increase in number by one annu- 
ally, so that you can always tell the age of the amiable 
serpent you are examining — if it will let you count the 

number of joints of its rattle. Captain F gave me 

the rattle of one which had as many as twelve joints. He 


said it had 'belonged to a very large snake, which had 
crawled from tinder a fallen tree-trunk on which his chil- 
dren were playing. After exhibiting his interesting cap- 
tive, Israel killed, stuffed, and presented it to me for pres- 
ervation as a trophy, and made me extremely happy by 
informing me that there was a nest of them where this 

one was found. I think with terror of S^ running 

ahout with her little socks not reaching half way up her 
legs, and her little frocks not reaching half way down 
them. However, we shall probahly not make acquaint- 
ance with many more of these natives of Georgia, as we 
are to return as soon as possible now to the North. We 
shall soon be free again. 

This morning I rode to the burnt district, and attempt- 
ed to go through it at St. Clair's, but unsuccessfully : it 
Was impossible to penetrate through the charred and 
blackened thickets. In the afternoon I walked round the 
Point, and visited the houses of the people who are our 
nearest neighbors. I found poor Edie in sad tribulation 
at the prospect of resuming her field labor. It is really 
shameful treatment of a woman just after child-labor. 
She was confined exactly three weeks ago to-day, and she 
tells me she is ordered out to field-work on Monday. 
She seems to dread the approaching hardships of her 
task-labor extremely. Her baby was born dead, she 
thinks in consequence of a fall she had while carrying a 
heavy Aveight of water. She is suffering great pain in 
one of her legs and sidles, and seems to me in a condition • 
utterly unfit for any work, much less hoeing" in the fields ; 
but I dare not interfere to prevent this cruelty. She says 
she has already had to go out to work three weeks after 
her confinement with each of her other children, and does 
noWfeomplain of it as any thing special in her case. She 
says that is now the invariable rule of the whole planta- 
tion, though it used not to be so formerly. 


I have let my letter lie since I wrote the above, dear 

E ; but as mine is a story without beginning, middle, 

or end, it matters extremely little where I leave it off or 
where I take it up ; and if you have not, between my 
wood rides and sick slaves, come to Falstaff's conclusion 
that I have " damnable iteration," you are patient of same- 
ness. But the days are like each other; and the ridea 
and the people, and, alas ! their conditions, do not vary. 

To-day, however, my visit to the Infirmary was marked 
by an event which has not occurred before — ^the death of 
one of the poor slaves while I was there. I found, on en- 
tering the first ward — to use a most inapplicable term for 
the dark, filthy, forlorn room I have so christened — an old 
negro called Friday lying on the ground. I asked what 
ailed him, and was told he was dying. I approached him, 
and perceived, from the glazed eyes and the feeble rattling 
breath, that he was at the point of expiring. His tattered 
shirt and trowsers barely covered his poor body; his ap- 
pearance was that of utter exhaustion from age and feeble- 
ness ; he had nothing under him but a mere handful of 
straw that did not cover the earth he was stretched on ; 
and under his head, by way of pillow for his dying agony, 
two or three rough sticks just raising his skull a few 
inches from the ground. The flies were all gathering 
around his mouth, and not a creature was near him. 
There he lay — ^the worn-out slave, whose life had been 
spent in unrequited labor for me and mine, without one 
. physical alleviation, one Christian solace, one human sym- 
pathy, to cheer him in his extremity — ^panting out the 
last breath of his wretched existence like some forsaken, 
overworked, wearied-out beast of burden, rotting where 
it falls ! I bent over the poor awful human creature in 
the supreme hour of his mortality ; and while my ^es, 
blinded with tears of unavailing pity and horror, were 
fixed upon him, there was a sudden quivering of the eye- 


lids and falling of the jaw — and he was free. I stood up, 
and remained long lost in the imagination of the change 
that creature had undergone, and in the tremendous over- 
whelming consciousness of the deliverance God had grant- 
ed the soul whose cast-off vesture of decay lay at ray feet. 
How I rejoiced for him; and how, as I turned to the 
wretches who were calling to me from the inner room, 
whence they could see me as I stood contemplating the 
piteous object, I wished they all were gone away with 
him, the delivered, the freed by death from bitter, bitter 
bondage. In the next room I found a miserable, decrepid 
old negress, called Charity, lying siek, and I should think 
near too to die ; but she did not think her work was over, 
much as she looked unfit- for farther work on earth ; but 
with feeble voice and beseeching hands implored me to 
have her work lightened when she was sent back to it 
from the hospital. She is one of the oldest slaves on the 
plantation, and has to walk to her field labor, and back 
again at night, a . distance of nearly four miles. There 
were an unusual number of sick women in the room to- 
day ; among them quite a young girl, daughter of Boat- 
man Quash's, with a sick baby, who has a father, though 
she has no husband. Poor thing ! she looks like a mere 
child herself. I returned home so very sad and heart-sick 
that 1 could not rouse myself to the effort of going up to 
St. Annie's with the presents I had promised the people 

there. I sent M '■ up in the wood-wagon with thenj, 

and remained in the house with my thoughts, which were 
none of the merriest. 

Dearest E , — On Friday I rode to where the rat- 
tlesnake was found, and where I was informed by the 
negroes there was a nest of them — a pleasing domestic 
picture of home and infancy that word suggests, not alto- 


gether appropriate to rattlesnakes, I think. On horseback 
I felt bold to accomplish this adventure, which I certainly 
should not have attempted on foot ; however, I could dis- 
cover no sign of either snake or nest — (perhaps it is of the 
nature of a mare's nest, and undiscoverable) ; but, having 
done my duty by myself in endeavoring to find it, I rode 
off and coasted the estate by the side of the marsh till I 
came to the causeway. There I found a new cleared field, 
and stopped to admire the beautiful appeai-ance of the 
stumps of the trees scattered all about it, and wreathed 
and garlanded with the most profuse and fantastic growth 
of various plants, wild roses being among the most abun- 
dant. What a lovely aspect one side of nature presents 
here, and how hideous is the other ! 

In the afternoon I drove to pay a visit to old Mrs. 

A , the lady proprietress whose estate immediately 

adjoins ours. On my way thither I passed a woman call- 
ed Margaret walking rapidly and powerfully along the 
road. She was returning home from the field, having 
done her task at three o'clock ; and told me, with a mer- 
ry, beaming black face, that she was going " to clean up 
de house, to please de missis." On driving through my 
neighbor's grounds, I was disgusted more than I can ex- 
press with the miserable negro huts of her people ; they 
were not fit to shelter cattle — they were not fit to shelter 
any thing, for they were literally in holes, and, as we 
nsed to say of our stockings at school, too bad to darn. 
To be sure, I wpl say, in excuse for their old mistress, her 
own habitation was but a very few degrees less ruinous 
and disgusting. What would one of your Yankee farm- 
ers say to such abodes? When I think of the white, 
houses, the green blinds, and the flower-plots of the vil- 
lages in New England, and look at these dwellings of 
lazy filth and inert degradation, it does seem amazing to 
think that physical and moral conditions so widely oppo- 


site should be found among people occupying a similar 
place in the social scale of the same country. The North- 
ern farmer, however, thinks it no shame to work, the 
Southern planter does ; and there begins and ends the dif- 
ference. Industry, man's crown of honor . elsewhere, is 
here his badge of utter degradation ; and so comes all by 
which I am here surrounded — pride, profligacy, idleness, 
cruelty, cowardice, ignorance, squaloi", dirt, and ineffable 

When I returned home I found that Mrs. F had 

sent me some magnificent prawns. I think of having 
them served singly, and divided as one does a lobster — 
their size really suggests no less respect. 

Saturday, 31 si. I rode all through the burnt district 

and the bush to Mrs. W 's field, in making my way 

out of which I was very nearly swamped, and, but for the 
valuable assistance of a certain sable Scipio who came up 
and extricated me, I might be flbundeiing hopelessly 
there still. He got me out of my Slough of Despond, 
and put me in the way to a charming wood ride which 

runs between Mrs. W 's and Colonel H 's grounds. 

While going along this delightful boundary of these two 
neighboring estates, my mind not unnaturally dwelt upon 
the terms of deadly feud in which the two families own- 
ing them are living with each other. A horrible quarrel 
has occurred quite lately upon the subject of the owner- 
ship of this very ground I was skirting, between Dr. 

H and young Mr. W ; they have challenged 

each other, and what I am going to tell you is a good 
sample of the sort of spirit which grows up among slave- 
. holders. So read it, for it is curious to people who have 
not lived habitually among savages. The terms of the 
challenge that has passed between them have appeared 
hke a sort of advertisement in the local paper, and are to 
the effect that they are to fight at a certain distance with 


certain -weapons — ^fire-arms, of course ; that there is to be 
on the person of each a white paper, or mark, immediately 
over the region of the heart, as a point for direct aim ; 
and whoever kills the other is to have the privilege of 
cutting off his head, and sticking it up on a pole on the 
piece of land which was the origin of the debate; so that, 
some fine day, I might have come hither as I did to-day, 
and found myself riding under the shadow of the gory 
locks of Dr. H or Mr. W , my peaceful and pleas- 
ant neighbors. » 

I came home through our own pine woods, which are 
actually a wilderness of black desolation. The scorched 
and charred tree-trunks are still smoking and smoulder- 
ing ; the ground is a sort of charcoal pavement, and the 
fire is still burning on all sides, for the smoke was rapidly 
rising in several directions on each hand of the path I pur- 
sued. Across this dismal scene of strange destruction, 
bright blue and red birds, like living jewels, darted in the 
brilliant sunshine. I wonder if the fire has killed and 
scared away many of these beautiful creatures. In the 
afternoon I took Jack with me to clear some more of the 
wood paths ; but the weather is what I call hot, and what 
the people here think warm, and the air was literally thick 
with little black points of -insects, which they call sand- 
flies, and which settle upon one's head and face literally 
like a black net ; you hardly see them or feel them at the 
time, but the irritation occasioned by them is intolerable, 
and I had to relinquish my work and fly before this winged 
plague as fast as I could from my new acquaintance the 
rattlesnakes. Jack informed me, in the course of our ex- 
pedition, that the woods on the island were sometimes 
burnt away in order to leave the ground in grass for fod- 
der for the cattle, and that the very beautiful ones he and 
I had been clearing paths through were not unlikely to 
be so doomed, which strikes me as a horrible idea. 


In the evening poor Edie came up to the house to see 
me, with an old negress called Sackey, who has been one 
of the chief nurses on the island for many years. I sup- 
pose she has made some application^ to Mr. G for a 

respite for Edie, on finding how terribly unfit she is for 

work ; or perhaps Mr, , to whom I represented her 

case, may have ordered her reprieve ; but she came with 
much gratitude to me (who have, as far as I know> had 
nothing to do with it), to tell me that she is not to be sent 
into the field for another week. Old Sackey fully con- 
firmed Edie's account of the terrible hardships the wom- 
en underwent in being thus driven to labor before they 
had recovered from childbearing. She said that old Ma- 
jor allowed the women at the rice-island five weeks, 

and those here four weeks, to recover from a confinement, 
and then never permitted them for some time after they 
resumed their work to labor in the fields before sunrise or 
after sunset; but Mr. K had altered that arrange- 
ment, allowing the women at the rice-island only four 
weeks, and those here only three weeks, for their recovery ; 
" and then, missis," continued the old woman, " out into 
the field again, through dew and dry, as if nothing had 
happened; that is why, missis, so many of the women 
have falling of the womb and weakness in the back ; and 
if he had continued on the estate, he would have utterly 
destroyed all the breeding women." ^Sometimes, after 
sending them back into the field at the expiration of their 
three weeks, they would work for a day or two, she saidj 
and then fall down in the field with exhaustion, and be 
brought to' the hospital almost at the point of death. 

Yesterday, Sunday, I had my last service at home with 
these poor people; nearly thirty of them came, all clean, 

neat, and decent, in their dress and appearance. S 

had begged very hard to join the congregation, and upon 
the most solemn promise of remaining still she was ad- 

252 JO0ENAI, OF 

mitted; but, in spite of the perfect honor with -which she 
kept her promise, her presence disturbed my thoughts 
not a little, and added much to the poignancy of the feel- 
ing with which I saw her father's poor slaves gathered 
round me. The child's exquisite complexion, large gray 
eyes, and solemn and at the same time eager countenance, 
was such a wonderful piece of contrast to their sable 
faces, so many of them so uncouth in their outlines and 
proportions, and yet all of them so pathetic, and some so 
sublime in their expression of patient suffering and relig- 
ious fervor : their eyes never wandered from me and my 
child, who sat close by my knee, their little mistress, their 

future providence, my poor baby! Dear E , bless 

God that you have never reared a child with such an 
awful expectation : and at the end of the prayers, the 
tears were streaming over their faces, and one chorus of 
blessings rose round me and the child — farewell blessings, 
and prayers that we would return ; and thanks'so fervent 
in their incoherency, it was more than I could bear, and 
I begged them to go away and leave me to recover my- 
self. And then I remained with S , and for quite a 

long while even her restless spirit was still in wondering 
amazement at my bitter crying. I am to go next Sun- 
day to the church on the island, where there is to be 
service ; and so this is my last Sunday with the people. 
When I had recovered from the emotion of this scene, 

I walked out with S— — a little way, but meeting M : 

and the baby, she turned home with them, and I pursued 
my walk alone up the road, and home by the shore. They 
are threatening to burn down all my woods to make grass- 
land for the cattle, and I have terrified them by telling 
them that I will never come back if they destroy the 
woods. I went and paid a visit to Mrs. G ; poor lit- 
tle, well-meaning, helpless woman, what can she do for 
these poor people, where I, .who am supposed to own 


them, can do nothing ? and yet how much may be done, 
is done, by the brain and heart of one human being in 
contact with another ! We are answerable for incalcula- 
ble opportunities of good and evil in our daily intercourse 
with every soul with whom we have to deal ; every meet- 
ing, every parting, every chance greeting, and every ap- 
pointed encounter, are occasions open to us for which we 
are to account. To our children, our servants, our friends, 
our acquaintances — to each and aU every day, and all day 
long, we are distributing that which is best or worst in 
existence — influence : with every word, with every look, 
with every gesture, something is given or withheld of 
great importance it may be to the receiver, of inestimable 
importance to the giver. 

Certainly the laws and enacted statutes on which this 
detestable system is built up are potent enough ; the so- 
cial prejudice that buttresses it is almost more potent, 
still ; and yet a few hearts and brains well bent to do the 
work would bring within this almost impenetrable dun- 
geon of ignorance, misery, and degradation, in which so 
many millions of human souls lie buried, that freedom of. 
God which would presently conquer for them their earth- 
ly liberty. With some such thoughts I commended the 
slaves on the plantation to the little overseer's wife ; I did 
not tell my thoughts to her — they would have scared the 
poor little woman half out of her senses. To begin with, 
her bread, her husband's occupation, has its root in slav- 
ery ; it would be difficult for her to think as I do of it. 
I am afraid her care, even of the bodily habits and sick- 
nesses of the people left in Mrs. G 's charge, will not 

be worth much, for nobody treats others better than they 
do themselves ; and she is certainly doing her best to in- 
jure herself and her own poor baby, who is two and a 
half years old, and whom she is still suckling. 

This is, I think, the worst case of thi^ extraordinary 

254 jOUENAt Of 

delusion so prevalent among your women that I have ever 
met with yet; but they all nurse their children much 
longer than is good for either baby or mother. The 
summer heat, particularly when a -young baby is cutting 
teeth, is, I know, considered by young American mothers 
an exceedingly critical time, and therefore I always hear 
of babies being nursed till after the second summer; so 
that a child born in January would be suckled till it was 
eighteen or nineteen months old, in order that it might 
not be weaned till its second summer was over. I am 
sure that nothing can be worse than this system, and I 
attribute much of the wretched ill health of young Amer- 
ican mothers to over-nursing; and of course a process 
that destroys their health and vigor completely must af- 
fect most unfavorably the child they are suckling. It 
is a grievous mistake. I remember my charming friend 

F D telling me that she had nursed her first 

child till her second was born — a miraculous statement, 
which I can only believe because she told it me herself. 
Whenever any thing seems absolutely impossible, the 
word of a true person is the only proof of it worth any 

Deae E , — ^I have been riding into the swamp be- 
hind the new house ; I had a mind to survey the ground 
all round it before going away, to see what capabilities it 
afforded for the founding of a garden, but I confess it 
looked very unpromising. Trying to return by another 
way, I came to a morass, which, after contemplating, and 
making my horse try for a few paces, I thought it expedi- 
ent not to attempt. A woman named Charlotte, who was 
working in the field, seeing my dilemma, and the inglori- 
ous retreat I was about to make, shouted to me at the top 
of her voice, " You no turn back, missis ; if you want to 


go thi'ough, send, missis, send ; you hab slave enough, nig- 
ger enough, let 'em come, let 'em fetch planks, and make 
de bridge ; what you say dey must do — send, missis, send, 
missis !" It seemed to me, from the lady's imperative 
tone in my behalf, that if she had been in my place, she 
would presently have had a corduriay road through the 
swamp of prostrate "niggers," as she called her family in 
Ham, and have ridden over the sand dry-hoofed ; and to 
be sure, if I pleased,-so might I, for, as she very truly said, 
" what you say, missis, they must do." Instead of sum- 
moning her sooty tribe, however, I backed my horse out 
of the swamp, and betook myself to another pretty wood 
path, which only wants widening to be quite charming. 
At the end of this, however, I found swamp the second, 
and out of this having been helped by a grinning, face- 
tious personage, most appropriately named Pun, I returned 

home in dudgeon, in spite of what dear Miss M calls 

the " moral suitability" of finding a foul bog at the end of 
every charming wood path or forest ride in this region. 

In the afternoon I drove to Busson Hill to visit the 
people there. I found that both the men and women had 
done their work at half past three. Saw Tema with her 
child, that ridiculous image of Driver Bran, in her arms, 
in spite of whose whity-brown skin she still maintains that 
its father is a man as black as herself — and she (to use a 
most extraordinary comparison I heard of a negro girl 
making with regard to her mother) is as black as "de 
hinges of hell." Query : Did she really mean hinges, or 
angels ? The angels of hell is a polite and pretty para- 
phrase for devils, certainly. In complimenting a woman 
called Joan upon the tidy condition of her house, she an- 
swered, with that cruel humility that is so bad an element 
in their character, " Missis no 'spect to find colored folks' 
house clean as white folks'." The mode in which they 
have learned to accept the idea of their own degradation 

256 JOtTENAL Off • 

and unalterable inferiority is the most serious impediment 
that I see in the way of their progress, since assuredly 
" self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting." In the 
same way yesterday, Abraham the cook, in speaking of his 
brother's theft at the rice-island, said "it was a shame even 
for a colored man to do such things." I labor hard, when- 
ever any such observation is made, to explain to them that 
the question is one of moral and mental culture — not the 
color of an integument — and assure them, much to my own 
comfort, whatever it may be to theirs, that white people 
are as dirty and as dishonest as colored folks, when they 
have suffered the same lack of decent training. If I could 
but find one of these women on whose mind the idea had 
dawned that she was neither more nor less than my equal, 
I think I should embrace her in an ecstasy of hopefulness. 

In the evening, while I was inditing my journal for your 
edification, Tema made her appearance with her Bran- 
brown baby, having walked all the way down from Bus- 
son Hill to claim a little sugar I had promised her. She 
had made her child perfectly clean, and it looked quite 
pretty. When I asked her what I should give her the 
Sugar in, she snatched her filthy handkerchief off her head; 
but I declined this sugar-basin, and gave it to her in some 
paper. Hannah came on the same errand. 

After all, dear E , we shall not leave Georgia so 

soon as I expected ; we can not get off for at least another 
week. You know, our movements are apt to be both tar- 
dy and uncertain. I am getting sick in spirit of my stay 
here ; but I think the spring heat is beginning to affect 
me miserably, and I long for a cooler atmosphere. Here, 
on St. Simon's, the climate is perfectly healthy, and our 
neighbors, many of them, never stir from their plantations 
within reach of the purifying sea influence. But a land 
that grows magnolias is not fit for me — I was going to 
say magnolias and rattlesnakes ; but I remembe^ K 's 


adventure with her friend the rattlesnake of Monument 
Mountain, and the wild wood-covered hill half way he- 
tween Lenox and Stockbridge, which your Berkshire 
farmers have christened Rattlesnake Mountain. These 
agreeable serpents seem, like the lovely little humming- 
birds which are found in your northernmost as well as 
southernmost states, to have an accommodating disposi- 
tion with regard to climate. 

Not only is the vicinity of the sea an element of salu- 
brity here, but the great masses of pine wood growing in 
every direction indicate lightness of soil and purity of air. 
"Wherever these fragrant, dry, aromatic fir forests extend, 
there can be no inherent malaria, I should think, in either 
atmosphere or soil. The beauty and profusion of the 
weeds and wild flowers in the fields now is something, 
too, enchanting. I wish I could spread one of these en- 
ameled tracts on the side of one of your snow-covered 
Mils now, for I dare say they are snow-covered yet. 

I must give you an account of Aleck's first reading les- 
son, which took place at the same time that I gave S 

hers this morning. It was the first time he had had leis- 
ure to come, and it went off most successfully. He seems 
to me -by no means stupid. I am very sorry he did not 
ask me to do this before ; however, if he can master his 
alphabet before I go, he may, if chance favor him with the 
occasional sight. of a book, help himself on by degrees. 
Perhaps he wUl have the good inspiration tp apply to 
Cooper London for assistance ; I am much mjistaken if that 
worthy does not contrive that Heaven shall help Aleck, 
as it formerly did him, in the matter of I'eading. 

I rode with Jack afterward, showing him where I wish 
paths to be cut and brushwood removed. I passed the 
new house, and again circumvented it meditatingly to dis- 
cover its available points of possible future comeliness, 
but remained as convinced as ever that there are absolute- 


ly none. Within the last two days a perfect border of 
the dark blue virginicum has burst into blossom on each 
side of the road, fringing it with purple as fkr as one can 
look along it ; it is lovely. I must teU you of something 
which has delighted me greatly. I told Jack yesterday 
that, if any of the boys liked, when they had done their 
tasks, to come and clear the paths that I want widened 
and trimmed, I would pay them a certain small sum per 
-hour for their labor ; and behold, three boys have come, 
having done their tasks early in the afternoon, to apply 
for work and wages : so much for a suggestion not barely 
twenty-four hours old, and so much for a prospect of com- 
pensation ! 

In the evening I attempted to walk out when the air 
was cool, but had to run precipitately back into the house 
to escape from the clouds of sand-flies that had settled on 
my neck and arms. The weather has suddenly become in- 
tensely hot ; at least that is what it appears to me. Aft- 
er I had come in I had a visit from Venus and her daugh- 
ter, a young girl of ten years old, for whom she begged a 
larger allowance of food, as, she said j^ what she 'received 
for her was totally inadequate to the girl's proper nour- 
ishment. I was amazed, upon inquiry, to find that three 
quarts of grits a week — ^that is not a pint a day — was con- 
sidered a sufiScient supply for children of her age. The 
mother said her child was half-famished on it, and it seem- 
ed to me terribly little. 

My little workmen have brought me in from the woods 
three darling little rabbits which they have contrived to 
catch. They seemed to me slightly different from our 

English bunnies ; and Captain F , who called to-day, 

gave me a long account of how they differed from the 
same animal in the Northern states. I did not like to 
mortify my. small workmen by refusing their present ; but 
the poor little things must be left to run wild again, for 


we have no conveniences for pets here, besides we are just 
weighing anchor ourselves. I hope these poor little fluffy 
things will not meet any rattlesnakes on their way back 
to the woods. 

I had a visit for flannel from one of our Dianas to-day 
—-who had done her task in the middle of the day, yet 
came to receive her flannel — the most horribly dirty hu- 
man creature I ever beheld, unless, indeed, her child, whom 
she brought with her, may have been half a degree dirtier. 
• The other day. Psyche (you remember the pretty un- 
der nurse, the poor thing whose story I wrote you from 
the rice plantation) asked me if her mother and brothers 
might be allowed to come and see her when we are gone 
away. I asked her some questions about them, and she 
. told me that one of her brothers, who belonged to Mr. 

K , Avas hired by that gentleman to a Mr. G , of 

Darien, and that, upon the latter desiring to purchase him, 

Mr. K had sold the man without apprising him or 

any one member of his family that he had done so — a hu- 
mane proceeding that makes one's blood boil when one 
hears of it. He had owned the man ever since he was a 
boy. Psyche urged me very much to obtain an order per- 
mitting her to see her mother and brothers. I will try and 
obtain it for her ; but there seems generally a great ob- 
jection to the visits of slaves from neighboring planta- 
tions, and, I have no doubt, not without sufficient reason. 
The more I see of this frightful and perilous social sys- 
tem, the more I feel that those who live in the midst of it 
must make their whole existence one constant precaution 
against danger of some sort or other. 

I have given Aleck a second reading lesson with S , 

who takes an extreme interest inhis newly-acquired al- 
phabetical lore. He is a very quick and attentive schol- 
ar, and I should think a very short time would suffice to 
teach him to read ; but, alas ! I have not even that short 


time. When I had done with my class I rode off with 
Jack, who has become quite an expert horseman, and re- 
joices in being lifted out of the immediate region of snakes 
by the length of his horse's legs. I cantered through the 
new wood paths, and took a good sloping galop through 
the pine land to St. Annie's. The fire is actually still burn- 
ing in the woods. I came home quite tired with the heat, 
though my ride was not a long one. 

Just as I had taken off my habit and was preparing to 

start off- with M and the chicks for Jones's in the 

wood-wagon, old Dorcas, one of the most decrepid, rheu- 
matic, and miserable old negresses from the farther end 
of the plantation, called in to beg for some sugar. She 
had walked the whole way from her own settlement, and 
seemed absolutely exhausted then, and yet she had to 
walk all the way back. It was not otherwise than slightly 

meritorious in me, my dear E , to take her np in the 

wagon and endure her abominable dirt and foulness in the 
closest proximity, rather than let her drag her poor old 
limbs all that way back ; but I was glad Avhen we gained 
her abode and lost her company. I am mightily remind- 
ed occasionally in these parts of Trinculo's soliloquy over 
Caliban. The people at Jones's had done their work at 
half past three. Most of the houses were tidy and clean, 
so were many of the babies. On visiting the cabin of an 
exceedingly decent woman called Peggy, I found her, to 
my surprise, possessed of a fine large Bible. She told me 
her husband. Carpenter John, can read, and that she means 
to make him teach her. The fame of Aleck's literature 
has evidently reached Jones's, and they are not afraid to 
tell me that they can read or wish to learn to do so. 
This poor woman's health is miserable ; I never saw a 
more weakly, sickly-looking creature. She says, she has 
been broken down ever since the birth of her last child. 
I asked her how soon after her confinement she went otit 


into the field to -work again. She answered very quietly, 
but with a- deep sigh, " Three weeks, missis ; de usual 
time." As T was going away, a man named Martin came 
up, and with great vehemence besought me to give him a 
Prayer-book. In the evening he came down to fetch it, 
and to show me that he can read. I was very much 
pleased to see that they had taken my hint about nailing 
wooden "slats across the windows of their poor huts, to 
prevent the constant ingress of the poultry. This in it- 
self will produce an immense difference in the cleanliness 
and comfort of their wretched abodes. In one of the huts 
I found a broken looking-glass ; it was the only piece of 
furniture of the sort that I had yet seen among them. 
The woman who owned it was, I am sorry to say, pecul- 
iarly untidy and dirty, and so were her children ; so that 
I felt rather inclined to scoff at the piece of civilized van- 
ity, which I should otherwise have greeted as a promising 

I drove home, late in the afternoon, through the sweet-: 
smelling woods, that are beginning to hum with the voice 
of thousands of insects. My troop of volunteer workmen 
is increased to five — ^five lads working for my wages after 
they have done their. task-work; and this evening, to my 
no small amazement. Driver Bran came down to join them 
for an hour, after working all day at Five Pound, which 
certainly shows zeal and energy. 

Dear E , I have been riding through the woods all 

the morning with Jack, giving him directions about. the 
clearings, which I have some faint hope may be allowed 
to continue after my departure. I went on an exploring 
expedition round some distant fields, and then home 
through the St. Annie's woods. They have almost strip- 
ped the trees and thickets along the swamp road since I 
first came here. I wonder what it is for; not fuel surely, 
nor to make grass-land of, or otherwise cultivate the 


swamp, I do deplore these pitiless clearings ; and as to 
this once pretty road, it looks " forlorn," as a worthy 
Pennsylvania farmer's wife once said to me of a pretty 
hill-side from which her husband had ruthlessly felled a 
beautiful grove of trees. 

I had another snake encounter- in my ride this morning. 
Just as I had walked my horse through the swamp, and 
while contemplating ruefully its naked aspect, a huge black 
snake wriggled rapidly across the path, and I pulled my 
reins tight and opened my mouth wide with horror. 
These hideous-looking creatures are, I believe, not poison- 
ous, but they grow to a monstrous size, and have tremen- 
dous constrictive power. I have heard stories that sound 
like the nightmare of their fighting desperately with those 
deadly creatures, rattlesnakes. I can not conceive, if the 
black snakes are not poisonous, what chance they have 
against such antagonists, let their squeezing powers 'be 
what they will. How horrid it did look, slithering over 
the road ! Perhaps the swamp has been cleared on ac- 
count of its harboring these dreadful worms. 

I rode home very fast, in spite of the exquisite fragrance 
of the wild cherry blossoms, the carpets and curtains of 
wild flowers, among which a sort of glorified dandelion 
glowed conspicuously — dandelions such as I should think 
grew in the garden of Eden, if there were any at all there. 
I passed the finest magnolia that I have yet seen ; it was 
magnificent, and I suppose had been spared for its beauty, 
for it grew in the very middle of a cotton-field; it was as 
large as a fine forest tree, and its huge glittering leaves 
shone like plates of metal in the sun ; what a spectacle 
that tree must be in blossom, and I should think its per- 
fume must be smelt from one end of the plantation to the 
other. What a glorious creature ! Which do you think 
ought to weigh most in the scale, the delight of such a 
vegetable, or the disgust of the black animal I had just 


met a few minutes before ? Would you take the one -with 
the other ? Neither would I. 

I have spent the whole afternoon at home ; my " gang" 
is busily at work again. Sawney, one of them, came to 
join it nearly at sundown, not "having got through his 
day's task befote. In watching and listening to these 
lads, I was constantly struck with the insolent tyranny of 
their demeanor toward each other. This is almost a uni- 
versal characteristic of the manner of the negroes among 
themselves. They are diabolically cruel to gnimals too, 
and they seem to me, as a rule, hardly to know the differ- 
ence between truth and falsehood. These detestable qual- 
ities, which I constantly hear attributed to them as innate 
and inherent in their race, appear to me the direct result 
of their condition. The individual exceptions among them 
are, I think, quite as many as would be found, under sim- 
ilar circumstances, among the same number of white peo- 

In considering the whole condition of the people on this 
plantation, it appears to me that the principal hardships 
fall to the lot of the women-^that is, the principal physic- 
al hardships. The very young members of the commu- 
nity are of course idle and neglected ; the very, very old, 
idle and neglected too ; the middle-aged men do not ap- 
pear to me overworked, and lead a mere animal existence, 
in itself not peculiarly cruel or distressing, but involving a 
constant element of fear and uncertainty, and the trifling 
evils of unrequited labor, ignorance the most profound (to 
which they are condemned by law), and the unutterable 
injustice which precludes them from all the merits and all 
the benefits of voluntary exertion, and the progress that 
results fron> it. If they are absolutely unconscious of 
these evils, then they are not very ill-off brutes, always 
barring the chance of being given or sold away from their 
mates or their young — ^processes which even brutes do 


not always relish. I am very much struck with the vein 
of melancholy, which assumes almost a poetical tone in 
some of the things they say. Did I tell you of that poor 
old decrepid creature Dorcas, who came to beg some sug- 
ar of me the other day ? saying, as she took up my watch 
from the table and looked at it, "Ah! I need not look at 
this; I have almost done with time!" Was not that 
striking from such a poor old ignorant crone ? 

Dbae E -, — This is the fourth day that I have had 

a " gang" of lads working in the woods for me after their 
task hours for pay ; you can not think how zealous and 
energetic they are ; I dare say the novelty of the process 
pleases them almost as much as the money they earn. I 
must say they quite deserve their small wages. 

Last night I received a present from Mrs. F of a 

drum-fish, which animal I had never beheld before, and 
which seemed to me first cousin to the great Leviathan. 
It is to be eaten, and is certainly the biggest fish food I 
ever saw ; however, every thing is in proportion, and the 
prawns that came with it are upon a similarly extensive 
scale; this magnificent piscatorial bounty was accom- 
panied by a profusion of Hamilton green peas, really a 
munificent supply. 

I went out early after breakfast with Jack hunting for 
new paths ; we rode all along the road by Jones's Creek, 
and most beautiful it was. We skirted the plantation 
burial-ground, and a dismal place it looked; the cattle 
trampling over it in every direction, except where Mr. 

K had had an inclosure put up round the graves of 

two white men who had worked on the estate. They 
were strangers, and of course utterly indifferent to the 
people here ; but by virtue of their white skins, their rest- 
ing-place was protected from the hoofs of the cattle, while 


the parents and children, wives, husbands, brothers and 
sisters, of the poor slaves, sleeping beside them, might see 
the graves of those they loved trdbipled upon and browsed 
over, desecrated and defiled, from morning till night. 
There is something intolerably cruel in this disdainful de- 
nial of a common humanity pursuing these wretches even 
when they are hid beneath the earth. 

The day was exquisitely beautiful, and I explored a new 
wood path, and found it all strewed with a lovely wild not much unlike a primrose. I spent the afternoon 
at home. I dread going out twice a day now, on account 
of the heat and the sand-flies. "While I was sitting by the 
window, Abraham, our cook, went by with some most re- 
volting-looking " raw material" (part, I think, of the inte- 
rior of the monstrous drum-fish of which I have told you). 
I asked him, with considerable disgust, what he was go- 
ing to do with it ; he replied, " Oh ! we colored people 
eat it, missis." Said I, " Why do you say we colored peo- 
ple ?" " Because, missis, white people won't touch what 
we too glad of." " That," said I, " is because you are 
poor, and do not often have meat to eat, not because you 
are colored, Abraham ; rich white folks will not touch 
what poor white folks are too glad of; it has nothing in 
the world to do with color ; and if there were white peo- 
ple here worse off than you (amazing and inconceivable 
suggestion, I fear), they would be glad to eat what yon 
perhaps would not touch." Profound pause of medita- 
tion oh the part of Abraham, wound up by a considerate 
" Well, missis, I suppose so ;" after which he departed 
with the horrid-looking ofial. 

To-day — Saturday—I took another ride of discovery 
round the fields by Jones's. I think I stall soon be able 
to survey this estate, I have ridden so carefully over it in 
every direction ; but my rides are drawing to a close, and 
even were I to remain here this must be the case, unless 



I got up and rode under the stars in the cool of the night. 
This afternoon I -wras obliged to drive up to St. Annie's : 
I had promised the people several times that I would do 
so. I went after dinner p,nd as late as I could, and found 
very considerahle improvement in the whole condition of 
the place ; the houses had aU been swept, and some of 
them actually scoured. The children were all quite toler- 
ably clean ; they had put slats across all their windows, 
and little ohioken-gates to the doors to keep out the poul- 
try. There was a poor woman lying in one of the cabins 
in a wretched condition. She begged for a bandage, but 
I do not see of what great use that can be to her, as long 
as she has to hoe in the fields so many hours a day, which 
I can not prevent. 

Returning home, Israel undertook to pilot me across 
the cotton-fields into the pine land ; and a more excruci- 
ating process than being dragged over that very uneven 
surface in that wood-wagon without springs I did never 
endure, mitigated and soothed though it was by the liter- 
ally fascinating account my charioteer gave me of the 
rattlesnakes with which the place we drove through be- 
comes infested as the heat increases. I can not say that 
his description of them, though more demonstrative as far 
as regarded his own horror of them, was really worse than 

that which Mr. G was giving me of them yesterday. 

He said they were very numerous, and were found in ev- 
ery direction all over the plantation, but that they did not 
become really vicious until quite late in the summer ; un- 
til then, it appears that they generally endeavor to make 
off if one meets them, but during the intense heats of the 
latter part of July and August they never think of es- 
caping, but at any sight or sound wMch they may consid- 
er inimical they ingtantly coil themselves for a spring. 
The most intolerable proceeding on; .their part, however, 
that he described, was their getting up into the trees, and 


either coiling themselves in or depending from the branch- 
es. There is, something too revolting in the idea of ser- 
pents looking down upon one from the shade of the trees 
to which one may betake one's self for shelter in the 
dreadful heat of the Southern midsummer 5 decidedly I 
do not think the dog-days would '^pleasant here. The 
moccasin snake, which is nearly a^eadly as the rattle- 
snake, abounds all over the island. 

In the evening I had a vigit from Mr. C and Mr. 

B , who officiates to-morrow at our small island church. 

The conversation I had with these gentlemen was sad 
enough. They seem good, and kind, and amiable men, 
and I have no doubt are conscientious in their capacity of 
slaveholders ; but to one who has lived outside this dread- 
ful atmosphere, the whole tone of their discourse has a 
morally muffled sound, which one must hear to be able to 

conceive. Mr. B told me that the people on this 

plantation not going to church was the result of a posi- 
tive order from Mr. K- , who had peremptorily for- 
bidden their doing so, and of course to have infringed 
that order would have been to incur severe corporal 
chastisement. Bishop B- — ;, it seems, had advised that 
there should be periodical preaching on the plantations, 

which, said Mr. B , would have obviated any necessity 

for the people of different estates congregating at any 
given point at stated times, which might perhaps be ob- 
jectionable, and at the same time would meet the re- 
proach which was now beginning to be directed toward 
Southern planters as a class, of neglecting the eternal in- 
terest of their dependents. But Mr. K had equally 

objected to this. He seems to have held religious teach- 
ing a mighty dangerous thing— r£ind how right he was ! 
I have met with conventional cowardice of various shades 
and shapes in various societies that I have lived in, but 
any thing like the pervadbg timidity of tone which I 

268 JOUENAL 01" 

find here on all subjects, but, above all, on that of the con- 
dition of the slaves, I have never dreamed of. Truly slav- 
ery begets slavery, and the perpetual state of suspicion 
and apprehension of the slaveholders is a very handsome 
offset, to say the least of it, against the fetters and the 
lash of the slaves, l^^r people, one and all, but especially 
poor oppressors of the oppressed ! The attitude of these 
men is really pitiable ; they profess (perhaps some of them 
strive to do so indeed) to consult the best interests of their 
slaves, and yet shrink back terrified from the approach of 
the slightest intellectual or moral improvement which 
might modify their degraded and miserable existence. I 
do pity these deplorable servants of two masters more 
than any human beings I have ever seen — more than their 
own slaves a thousand times ! 

To-day. is Sunday, and I have been to the little church 
on the island. It is the second time since I came down 
to the South that I have been to a place of worship. A 
curious little incident prefaced my going thither this 
morning. I had desired Israel to get my horse ready and 
himself to accompany me, as I meant to ride to church ; 
and you can not imagine any thing droller than his hor- 
ror and dismay when he at length comprehended that my 
purpose was to attend, divine service in my riding-habit. 
I asked him what was the trouble; for, though I saw 
something was creating a dreadful convulsion in his mind, 
I had no idea what it was till he told me, adding that he 
had never seen such a thing on St. Simon's in his life — as 
who should say, such a thing was never seen in Hyde 
Park or the Tuileries before. You may imagine my 
amusement; but presently I was destined to shock some- 
thing much more serious than poor Israel's sense of les 
convenances et biensSances, and it was not without some- 
thing of an effort that I made up my mind to do so. I 
was standing at the open window speaking to him about 


the horses, and telling him to get ready to ride with me, 
when George, another of the men, went by with a shade 
or yis'or to his cap exactly the. shape of the one I left be- 
hind at the North, and for want of which I have been 
suffering severely from the intense heat and glare of the 
sun for the last week. I asked him to hand me his cap, 
saying, "I. want to take the pattern of that shade." Is- 
rael exclaimed, " Oh, missis, not to-day ; let him leave the 
cap with you to-morro*-, but don't cut pattern on de Sab- 
bath day !" It seemed to me a much more serious mat- 
ter to offend this scrupl&than the prejudice with regard 
to praying in a riding-habit; still, it had to be done. 
"Do you think it wrong, Israel," said I, "to work on 
Sunday ?" " Yes, missis, parson tell we so." " Then, Is- 
rael, be sure you never do it. . Did your parson never tell 
you that your, conscience was for yourself and not for 
your neighbors, Israel ?" " Oh yes, missis, he tell we that 
too.". "Then mind that too, Israel." The shade was 
cut out and stitched, upon my cap, and protected my eyes 
from the fierce glare of the sun and sand as I rode to 

On our way we came to a field where the young corn 
was coming. up. The children were in the field — ^little 
living scarecrows — watching it, of course, as on a week- 
day, to keep off the birds. I made Israel observe this, 
who replied, "Oh, missis, if de people's com left one whole 
day riot Watched, not one blade of it remain to-morrow; 
it must be watched, missis." " What, on the Sabbath-day, 
Israel?" " -Yes, missis, or else we lose it all." I was not 
sorry to avail myself of this illustration of the nature of 
works of necessity, and proceeded to enlighten Israel with 
regard to what I conceive to be the genuine observance 
ofthe Sabbath. 

You can noi imagine any thing wilder or more beauti- 
ful than the situation of the little rustic temple in the 


woods where I went to worship to-day, with the magnifi- 
cent live oaks standing round it and its picturesque burial- 
ground. The disgracefully neglected state of the latter, 
its broken and ruinous inclosure, and its shaggy, weed- 
grown graves, teU a strange story of the residents of this 
island, who are content to leave the resting-place of their 
dead in so shocking a condition. In the tiny little cham- 
ber of a church, the grand old Litany of the Episcopal 
Church of England was not a little*Ehorn of its ceremonial 
stateliness ; clerk there was none, nor choir, nor organ, 
and the clergyman did duty for all, giving out the hymn 
and then singing it himself, followed as best might be by 
the uncertain voices of his very small congregation, the 
smallest I think I ever saw gathei'ed in a Christian place 
of worship, even counting a few of the negroes who had 
ventured to place themselves standing at the back of the 
church — an infringement on their part upon the privileges 
of their betters, as Mr. B generally preaches a sec- 
ond sermon to theni after the white service, to which, as a 
rule, they are not admitted. 

On leaving the church, I could not but smile at the 
quaint and original costumes with which Israel had so 
much dreaded a comparison for my irreproachable Lon- 
don .riding-habit. However, the strangeness of it was 
what inspired him with terror; but, at that rate, I am 
afraid a Paris gown and bonnet might have been in equal 
danger of shocking his prejudices. There was quite as 
little affinity Vith the one as the other in the curious speci-. 
mens of the " art of dressing" that gradually distributed 
themselves among the two or three indescribable ma- 
chines (to use the appropriate Scotch title) drawn up un- 
der the beautiful oak-trees, on which they departed in va- 
rious directions to the several plantations on the island. 

I mounted my horse, and resumed my ride and my con- 
versation with Israel. He told me that Mr.K 's great 


objection to the people going to church was their meet- 
ing with "the slaves from the other plantations ; and one 
reason, he added, that he did not wish them to do that 
was, that they trafficked and bartered away the cooper's 
wares, tubs, piggins, etc., made on the estate. I think, 
however, from every thing I hear of that gentlernan, that 
the mere fact of the Hampton people coming in contact 
with the slaves of other plantations would be a thing he 
would have depreeated. As a severe disciplinarian, he 
was probably right. 

In the course of our talk, a reference I made to the 
Bible, and Israel's answer that he could nqt read, made 
me ask him why his father had never taught any of his 
sons to read ; old Jacob, I know, can read. "What fol- 
lowed I shall never forget. He began by giving all sorts 
of childish unmeaning excuses and reasons for never hav- 
ing tried to learn — ^became confused and quite incoherent 
— and then, suddenly stopping, and pulling up his horse, 
said, with a look and manner that went to my very heart, 
" Missis, what for me learn to read ? me have no pros- 
pect!" I rode on without venturing to speak to him 
again for a little while. When I had recovered from that 
remark of his, I explained to him that, though indeed 
"without prospect" in some respects, yet reading might 
avail him much to better his condition, moral, mental, and 
physical. He listened very attentively, and was silent for 
a minute; after which he said, "All you say very true, 
missis, and me sorry now me let de time pass ; but you 
know what de white man dat goberns de estate him seem 
to like and favor, dat de people find out bery soon and do 
it ; now Massa K — — , him nebei: favor our reading, him 
not like it ; likely as not he lick you if he find you read- 
ing ; or, if you wish to teach your children, him always 
say, ' Pooh ! teach 'em to read — teach 'em to work.' Ac- 
cording to dat, we neber paid much attention to it ; but 

272 JOUENAl OF • 

now it will be different ; it was different in former times. 
De old folks of my father and mother's time could read 
more than we can, and I expect de people will dare to 
give some thought to it again now." There's a precious 
Sample of what one man's influence may do in his own 

sphere, dear E ! This man Israel is a remarkably fine 

fellow in every way, with a frank, open, and most intelli- 
gent countenance,- which rises before me with its look of 
quiet sadness whenever I think of these words (ahd.they 
haunt me), "I have no prospect." 

On my arrival at home I found that a number of the 
people, not knowing I had gone to church, had come up 
to the house, hoping that I would read prayers to them, 
and had not gone back to their homes, but waited to see 
me. I could? hot bear to disappoint them, for many of 
tliem had come from the. farthest settlements on the es- 
tate ; and so, though my hot ride had tired me a good 
deal, and my talk with Israel troubled me profoundly, I 
took off my habit, and had them all in, and read the after- 
noon service, to them. When it was over, two of the 
womea— Venus and Tressa — asked if they might be per- 
mitted to go to the nursery and see the children. Their 
account of the former condition of the estate was a cor- 
roboration of Israel's. They said that the older slaves on 
the plantation had been far better off than the younger 

ones of the present day; that Major was considerate 

and humane to his people ; and that the women were es- 
pecially carefully treated. But they said Mr. K had 

ruined all the young women with working them too soon 
after their confinements ; and as for the elder ones, he 
would kick them, curse them, turn their clothes over their 
heads, flog them unmercifully himself, and abuse them 
shamefully, no matter what condition they were in. They 
both ended with fervent thanks to God that he had left 
the estate, and rejoicing that we had come, and, above all. 


that we " had made young missis for them." Venus went 
down on her knees, exclaiming, " Oh, missis, I glad now ; 
and when I am dead, I glad in my grave that you come 
to us and bring us little. missis." 

DiBAE E ,; — ^I still go on exploring, or rather survey- 
ing the estate, the aspect of which is changing every day 
with the unfolding of the leaves and the wonderful profu- 
sion of wild flowers. The cleared ground all round the 
new building is one sheet of blooming blue of various 
tints; it is perfectly exquisite. But in the midst of my 
delight at these new blossoms, I am most sorrowfully bid- 
ding adieu to that paragon of parasites, the yellow jas- 
mine; I think I must have gathered the very last blos- 

* soms of it to-day. Nothing can be more lovely, nothing 
so exquisitely fragrant. I was surprised to recognize by 
their foliage to-day some fine mulberry-trees by Jones's 
Creek ; perhaps they are the remains of the sUk-worm ex- 
periment that Mr. C r persuaded Major to try so 

ineffectually. While I was looking at some wild plum 
and cherry trees that were already swarming with blight 
in the shape of multitudinous caterpillars' nests, an ingen- 
ious darkie, by name Cudgie, asked me if I could explain 
to him. why the trees blossomed out so fair, and then all 
" went off into a kind of dying." Having directed his 
vision and attention to the horrid white glistening webs, 
all lined with their brood of black devourers, I left him to 
draw his own conclusions. , 

The afternoon was rainy, in spite of which I drove to 
Busson Hill, and had a talk with Bran about the vile cat- 
erpillar blights on the wild plum-trees, and asked him if it 
would not be possible to get some sweet grafts from Mr. 
C for some of the wild fruit-trees, of which there are 

, such quantities. Perhaps, however, they are not worth 


2li JOUBNAL OF *' 

grafting. Bran promised me that the people should not 
be allowed to encumber the paths and the front of their 
houses with unsightly and untidy -heaps of oyster-shells. 
He promised all sorts of things. I wonder how soon after 
I am gone they will all return into the condition of brutal 
filth and disorder in which I found them. 

The men and women had done their work here by half 
past three. The chief labor in the cotton-fields, however, 
is both earlier and later in the season. At present they 
have little to do but let the crop grow. In the evening I 
had a visit from the son of a very remarkable man, who 
had been one of the chief drivers on the estate in Major 

r's time, and his son brought me a silver cup which 

Major 'had given his father as a testimonial of appro- 
bation, with an inscription on it recording his fidelity and 
trustworthiness at the time of the invasion of the coast 
of Georgia by the English troops. Was not that a curi- 
ous reward for a slave who was supposed not to be able 
to read his own praises ? And yet, from the honorable 
pride with which his son regarded this relic, I am sure the 
master did well so to reward his servant, though it seemed 
hard that the son of such a man should be a slave. Mau- • 
rice himself came with his father's precious silver cup in 
his hand, to beg for a small pittance of sugar, and for a 
Prayer-book, and also to know if the prLvilege of a milch 
cow for the- support of his family, which was among the 
favors Major allowed his father,' might not be con- 
tinued to him. He told me he had ten children " work- 
ing for massa," and I promised to mention his petition to 
Mr. -. 

On Sunday last I rode round the woods near St. An- 
nie's, and met with a monstrous snake, which Jack called 
a chicken-snake; but whether because it particularly af- 
fected poultry as its diet,, or for what other reason, ha 
could not tell me. Nearer home I encountered another 


gliding creature, that stopped "a moment just in front of 
my horse's feet, as if it was too much afraid of being 
trainpled upon to get out of the way : it was the only 
snake animal I ever saw that I did not think hideous. It 
was of a perfectly pure apple-green color, with a delicate 
line of black like a collar round its throat ; it really was 
an exquisite worm, and Jack said it was harmless. I did 
not, however, think it expedient to bring it home in my 
bosom, though, if ever I have a pet snake, it shaU be such 
a one. 

In the afternoon I drove to Jones's with several sup- 
plies of flannel for the rheumatic women and old men. 
We -have ridden over to Hamilton, again,, to pay another 

visit to the F ^"s, and on our way passed an enormous 

rattlesnake hanging dead on the bough of a tree. Dead 
as it was, it turned me perfectly sick with horror, and I 
wished very much to come back to the North immediate- 
ly, where these are not the sort of blackberries that grow 
on every bush. The evening air now, after the heat of 
the day, is exquisitely mild, and the nights dry and whole- 
some, the whole atmosphere indescribably fragrant with 
the perfume of flowers ; and as I stood, before going to 
bed last night, watching the slow revolving light on Sapelo 
Island, that warns the ships froni the dangerous bar at 
the river's mouth, and heard the measured pulse of the 
great Atlantic waters on the beach, I thought no more 
of rattlesnakes — ^no more, for one short while, of slavery. 
How still, and sweet, and solemn it was ! 

We have been paying more friendly and neighborly vis- 
its, or rather returning them; and the recipients of these 
civilized courtesies on our last calling expedition were the 
family one memlier of which was a party concerned in 
that barbarous challenge I wrote you word about. Hith- 
erto that very brutal and bloodthirsty cartel appears to 
have had no result. Tou must not, on that account, im- 

276 jouENAL or 

agine that it wUl have none. At the North, were it pos- 
sible for a duel intended to be conducted on such savage 
terms to be matter of notoriety, the very horror of the 
thing would create a feeling of grotesqueness, and the an- 
tagonists in such a proposed encounter would simply in- 
cur an immense amount of ridicule and obloquy. But 
here nobody is astonished and nobody ashamed of such 
preliminaries to a mortal combat between two gentlemen, 
who propose firing at marks over each other's hearts, and 
cutting off each other's heads ; and though this agreeable 
party of pleasure has not come off yet, there seems to be 
no reason why it should not at the first convenient season. 
Reflecting upon all which, I rode, not without trepidation, 

through Colonel H 's grounds, and up to his house. 

Mr. W ^"s head was not stuck upon a pole any where 

within sight, however, and as soon as I became pretty 
sure of this, I began to look about me, and saw instead a 
trellis tapestried with the most beautiful roses I ever be- 
held, another of these exquisite Southern flowers — the 
Cherokee rose. The blossom is very large, coinposed of 
four or five pure white petals, as white and as large as 
those of the finest camellia, with a bright golden eye for 
a focus ; the buds and leaves are long and elegantly slen- 
der, like those of some tea-roses, and the green of the fo- • 
liage is dark, and at the same time vivid and lustrous ; it 
grew in masses so as to form almost a hedge, all starred 
with these wonderful white blossoms, which, unfortunate-, 
ly, have no perfume. 

We rode home through the pine land to Jones's, look- 
ed at the new house which is coming on hideously, saw 
two beautiful kinds of trumpet honeysuckle already light- 
ing up the woods in every direction with gleams of scar- 
let, and when we reached home found a splendid donation 
of vegetables, flowers, and mutton from our kind neigh- 
bor Mrs, F , who is a perfect Lady Bountiful to us. 

A EifelDENCK IN GKOEGIA. 2 '7'? 

This same mutton, however — my heart bleeds to say it — 
disappeared the day after it was sent to ns, Abraham 
the cook declares that he locked the door of the safe upon 
it, which I think may be true, but I also think he unlock- 
ed it again. I am sorry ; but,'after all, it is very natural 
these people should steal a little of our meat from us oc- 
casional?^, who steal almost all their bread from them ha- 

I rode yesterday to St. Annie's with Mr. . We 

found a whole tract of marsh had been set on fire by the 
facetious negro called Pun, who had helped me out of it 
some time ago. As he was set to work in it, perhaps it 
was with a view of making it less damp ; at any rate, it 
was crackling, blazing, and smoking cheerily, and I should 
think would be insupportable for the snakes. While stop- 
ping to look at the conflagration, Mr. was accosted 

by a three parts naked and one part tattered little she 
slave — black as ebony, where her skin was discoverable 
through its perfect incrustation of dirt — with a thick mat 
of frizzly wool upon her skull, which made the sole request 
she preferred to him irresistibly ludicrous : " Massa, mas- 
sa, you please to buy me a comb to tick in my head ?" 
Mr. promised her this necessary of life, aind I prom- 
ised myself to give her the luxury of one whole garment. 

Mrs. has sent me the best possible consolation for 

the lost mutton, some lovely flowers, and these will not 
be stolen. ** * 

Saturday, thelUh. DeaeE , — Irode to-day through 

all my wood paths for the last time with Jack, and I think 
I should have felt quite melancholy at taking leave of them 
and him but for the apparition of a large black snake, 
which filled me with disgust and nipped my other senti- 
ments in the laud. Not a day passes now that I do not 

218 JOUENAi OB- 

encounter one or more of these hateful reptiles ; it is cu- • 
rious how much more odious they are to me than the al- 
ligators that haunt the mud banks of the river round the 
rice plantation. It is true that there is something very 
dreadful in the thick shapeless mass, uniform in color al- 
most to the black slime on lies basking, and which 
you hardly detect till it begins to move. But efen those 
ungainly crocodiles never sickened me as those rapid, 
lithe, and sinuous serpents do. Did I ever tell you that 
the people at the rice plantation caught a young alligator 
and brought it to the house, and it was kept for some time 
in a tub of water.? It was an ill-tempered. little monster ; 
it used to set up its back like a cat when it was angry, and 
open its long, jaws in a most vicious manner. 

After looking at my new path in the pine land, I crossed 
Pike Bluff, and, breaking my way all through the burnt 
district, returned home by Jones's. In the afternoon we 
paid a long visit to Mr. C . It is extremely interest- 
ing to me to talk with him about the negroes ; ' he has 
spent so much of his life among them, has managed- them 
so humanely, and apparently so successfully, that his ex- 
perience is worthy of all attention. And yet it seems to 
me that it is impossible, or rather, perhaps, for those very 
reasons it is impossible, for him ever to contemplate them 
in any condition but that of slavery. He thinks them 
very like the Irish, and instanced their subserviency, their 
flatteriflgl^heir lying, and pilfering, as traits common to 
the characters of both peoples. But I can not persuade 
myself that in both cases, and certainly in that of the ne- 
groes, these qualities are not in great measure the result 
of their condition. He says that he considers the ex- 
tremely low diet of the negroes one reason for the ab- 
sence of crimes of a savage nature among them ; most of 
them do not touch meat the year round. But in this re- 
spect they certainly do not resemble the Irish, who con- 


■4rive, upon about as low a national diet as civilization is 
acquainted with,. to commit the bloodiest and most fre- 
quent outrages with which civilization has to deal. His 
statement that it is impossible to bribe the negroes to 
work on their own account with any steadiness may be 
generally true, but admits of quite exceptions enough to 
throw doubt upon its being natural supineness in the race 
rather than the inevitable consequence of denying them 
the entire right to labor for their own profit. Their lazi- 
ness seems to me the necessary result of their primary 
wants being supplied, and all progress denied them. Of 
course, if the natural spur to exertion, necessity, is re- 
moved, you do away with the will to work.of a vast pro- 
portion of all who do work in the world. It is the law 
of progress that man's necessities grow with his exertions ■ 
to satisfy them, and labor and improvement thus continu- 
ally act and react upon each other to raise the scale of 
desire and achievement ; and I do not believe that, in the " 
majority of instances among any people on the face of 
the earth, the will to labor for small indulgences would 
survive the loss of freedom and the security of food 

enough to exist upon, Mr. said that he had ofiered 

a bribe of twenty dollars apiece, and the use of a pair of 
oxen, for the clearing of a certain piece of land, to the 
men on his estate, and found the ofier quite ineffectual to 
procure the desived result; the land was subsequently 
cleared as usual task-work under the lash. Now, cer- 
tainly, we have among Mr. 's people instances of men 

who have made very considerable sums of money by boat- 
building in their leisure hours, and the instances of almost 
life-long, persevering, stringent labor, by which slaves have 
at length purchased their own freedom and that of their 
wives and children, are on record in numbers sufficient to 
prove that they are capable of severe sustained effort of 
the most patient and heroic kind for that great object, 


liberty. For my own part, I know no people who dote- 
upon labor for its own sake ; and it seems to me quite nat- 
ural to any absolutely ignorant and nearly brutish man, 
if you say to him, " No effort of your own can make you 
free, but no absence pf effort shall starve you," to decline 
to work for any thing less than mastery over his whole 
life, and to take up with his mess of porridge as the al- 
ternative. One thing that Mr. said seemed to me to 

prove rather too much. He declared that his son, object- 
ing to the folks on his plantation going about bareheaded," 
had at one time offered a reward of a dollar to those who 
should habitually wear hats without being able to induce 
them to do so, which he attributed to sheer careless indo- 
lence; but I think it was merely the force of habit of go- 
» ing uncovered rather than absolute laziness. The uni- 
versal testimony of all present at this conversation was in 
favor of the sweetness of temper and natural gentleness 
of disposition of the negroes ; but these characteristics 
they seemed to think less inherent than the result of diet 
and the other lowering influences of their condition ; and 
it must not be forgotten that on the estate of this wise 
and kind master a formidable conspiracy was organized 
among his slaves. 

We rowed home through a world of stars, the stead- 
fast ones set in the still blue sky, and the flashing swathes 
of phosphoric light turned up by our oars and keel in the 
smooth blue water. It was lovely. 

Sunday, 14*A. Mt beak E , — ^That horrid tragedy 

with which we have been threatened, and of which I was 
writing to you almost jestingly a few days ago, has been 
accomplished, and apparently without exciting any thing 
but the most passing and superficial sensation in this com- 
munity. The duel between Dr. H and Mr. W — - 


did not take place, but an accidental encounter in the 
hotel at Brunswick did, and the former shot the latter 
dead on the spot. He has been brought home and buried 
here by the little church close to his mother's plantation ; 
and the murderer, if he is even prosecuted, runs no risk 
of finding a jury in the whole length and breadth of 
Georgia who could convict him of any thing. It is hor- 

I drove to church to-day in the wood-wagon, with Jack 
and Aleck, Hector being our charioteer, in a gilt guard- 
chain and pair of slippers to match as the Sabbatic part 
of his attire. The love of dirty finery is not a trait of the 
Irish in Ireland, but I think it crops out strongly when 
they come out here ; and the proportion of their high 
wages put upon their backs by the young Irish maidserv- 
ants in the North indicates a strong addiction to the fe- 
male passion for dress. Here the tendency seems to ex- 
ist in men and women alike ; but I think all savage men 
rejoice, even more than their women, in personal orna- 
mentation. The negroes certainly show the same strong 
predilection for finery with their, womenkind. 

I stopped before going into church to look at the new 
grave that has taken its place among the defaced stones, 
all overgrown with briers, that lie round it. Poor young 

W ! poor widowed mother, of whom he was the only 

son! What a savage horror! And no one seems to 
think any thing of it, more than of a matter of course. 
My devotions were any thing but satisfactory or refresh- 
ing to me. My mind was dwelling incessantly upon the 
new grave under the great oaks outside, and the miser- 
able mother in her home. The air of the church was per- 
fectly thick with sand-flies ; and the disgraceful careless- 
ness of the congregation in responding and singing the 
hymns, and the entire neglect of the Prayer-book regula- 
tions for kneeling, disturbed and displeased me even more 


than the last time I was at church ; but I think that was 
because of the total absence of excitement or feeling 
among the whole population of St. Simon's upon the sub- 
ject of the bloody outrage with which my mind was full, 
which has given me a sensation of horror toward the 
whole community. Just imagine — only it is impossible 
to imagine — such a thing taking place in a Ifew England 
village ; the dismay, the grief, the shame, the indignation, 
that would fill the hearts of the whole population. I 
thought we should surely have some reference to the 
event from the pulpit, some lesson of Christian command 
over furious passions. Nothing — nobody looked or spoke 
as if any thing unusual had occurred ; and I left the 
church, rejoicing to think that I was going away from 

such a dreadful state pf society. Mr. B remained to 

preach a second sermon to the negroes — ^the duty of sub- 
mission to masters who intermurder each other. 

I had service at home in the afternoon, and my congrer 
gation was much more crowded than usual ; for I believe 
there is no doubt at last that we shall leave Georgia this 
week. Having given way so much before when I thought 
I was praying with these poor people for the last time, I 
suppose I had, so to speak, expended my emotion, and I 
was much more composed and quiet than when I took 
leave of them before. But, to tell you the truth, this 
dreadful act of slaughter done in our neighborhood by 
one man of our acquaintance upon another, impresses me 
to such a degree that I can hardly turn my mind from it, 

and Mrs. W and her poor young naurdered son have 

taken almost complete possession of my thoughts. 

After prayers I gave my poor people a parting admo- 
nition, and many charges to remember me and all I had 
tried to teach them during my stay. They promised with 
one voice to mind and do all that " missis tell we ;" and 
with many a parting benediction, and entreaties to me to 


return, they went their way. I think I have done what I 
could for them — I think I have done as well as I could by 
them ; but when the time comes for ending any human 
relation, who can be without their misgivings ? who can 
be bold to say, I could have done no more, I could have 
done no better ? 

In the afternoon I walked out, and passed many of the 
people, who are now beginning, whenever they see me, 
to say " Good-by, missis !" which is rather trying. Many 
of them were clean and tidy, and decent in their appear- 
ance to a degree that certainly bore strong witness to the 
temporary efficacy of my influence in this respect. There 
is, however, of course much individual difference even with 
reference to this, and some take much more kindly and 
readily to cleanliness, no doubt to godliness too, than 
some others. I met Abraham, and thought that, in a 
quiet tSte-a-t^te, and with the pathetic consideration of 
my near departure to assist me, I could get him to con- 
fess the truth about the disappearance of the mutton ; 
but he persisted in the legend of its departure through 
the. locked door; and as I was only heaping sins on his 
soul with every lie I caused hini to add to thfe previous 
ones, I desisted from my inquiries. Dirt and lying are 
the natural tendencies of humanity, which are especially 
fostered by slavery. Slaves may be infinitely wrong, and 
yet it is very hard to blame them. 

I returned home, finding the heat quite oppressive. 
Late in the evening, when the sun had gone down a long 
time, I thought I would try and breathe the fresh sea air, 
but the atmosphere was thick with sand-flies, which drove 
me in at last from standing listening to the roar of the 
Atlantic on Little St. Simon's Island, the wooded belt 
that fends off the ocean surges from the north side of 
Great St. Simon's. It is a wild little sand-heap, covered 
with thick forest growth, and belongs to Mr. . I 

284 jouEisrAii of 

have long had a great desire to visit it, I hope yet to be 
able to do so before our departure. 
I have just finished reading, with the utmost interest 

and admiration, J C 'a narrative of his escape 

from the wreck of the Pulaski : what a brave, and gal- 
lant, and unselfish soul he must be ! Ton never read any- 
thing more thrilling, in spite of the perfect modesty of this 
account of his. If I can obtain his permission, and squeeze 
out the time, I will surely copy it for you. The quiet, un- 
assuming character of his usual manners and deportment 
adds greatly to his prestige as a hero. What a fine thing 
it must be to be such a man ! 

Dbae E ^, — ^We shall leave this place next Thursday 

or Friday, and there wiU be an end to this record ; mean- 
time I am fulfilling all sorts of last duties, and especially 
those of taking leave of my. neighbors, by whom the neg- 
lect of a farewell visit would be taken much amiss. 

On Sunday I rode to a place called Frederica to call on 

a Mrs. A- , who came to see me some time ago. I 

rode straight through the island by the main road that 
leads to the little church. 

How can I describe to you the exquisite spring beauty 
that is now adorning these woods, the variety of the fresh, 
new-born foliage, the fragrance of the sweet, wild per- 
fumes that fill the air ? Honeysuckles twine round every 
tree ; the ground is covered with a low, white-blossomed 
shrub more fragrant than lilies of the valley. The accac- 
uas are swinging their silver censers under the green roof 
of these wood temples ; every stump is like a classical 
altar to the sylvan gods, garlanded with flowers ; every 
post, or stick, or slight stem, like a Bacchante's thyrsus, 
twined with wreaths of ivy and wild vine, waving in the 
tepid wind. Beautiful butterflies flicker -like flying flowers 


Eimong the bushes, and gorgeous birds, like winged jewels, 
dart from the boughs, and-^and — a huge ground snake 
slid like a dark ribbon across the path while I was stop- 
ping to enjoy all this deliciousness, and so I became less 
enthusiastic, and cantered on past the little deserted 
church-yard, with the new-made grave beneath its grove 

of noble oaks, and a little farther on reached Mrs. A 's 

cottage, half hidden in the midst of ruins and roses. 

This Frederica is a very strange place; it was once a 
town — the town, the metropolis of the island. The En- 
glish, when they landed on the coast of Georgia in the 
war, destroyed this tiny place, and it has never been built 

up again. Mrs. A 's, and one other house, are the 

only dwellings that remain in this curious wilderness of 
dismantled crumbling gray walls compassionately cloaked 
with a thousand profuse and graceful creepers. These 
are the only ruins, properly so called, except those of Fort 
Putnam, that I have ever seen in this land of contemptu- 
ous youth. I hailed these picturesque groups and masses 
with the feelings of a European, to whom ruins are like a 
sort of relations. In my country, ruins are like a minor 
chord in music ; here they are like a discord ; they are 
not the relics of time, but the results of violence ; they re- 
call no valuable memories of a remote past, and are mere 
encumbrances to the busy present. Evidently they are 
out of place in America except on St. Simon's Island, be- 
tween this savage selvage of civilization and the great At- 
lantic deep. These heaps of rubbish and roses would 
have made the fortune of a sketcher ; but I imagine the 
snakes have it all to themselves here, and are undisturbed 
by camp-stools, white umbrellas, and ejaculatory young 

I sat for a long time with Mrs. A , and a friend of 

hers staying with her, a Mrs. A , lately from Florida. 

The latter seemed to me a remarkable woman ; her con- 


versation was extremely interesting. She had been stop- 
ping at Brunswick, at the hotel where- Dr. H mur- 
dered young W— — , and said that the mingled ferocity 
and blackguardism of the men who frequented the house 
had induced her to cut short her stay there, and come on 

to her friend Mrs. A 's. We spoke of that terrible 

crime which had occurred only the day after she left 
Brunswick, and both ladies agreed that there was not the 

slightest chance of Dr. H 's being punished in any way 

for the murder he had committed ; that shooting down a 
man who had offended you was part of the morals and 
manners of the Southern gentry, and that the circum- 
stance was one of quite too frequent occurrence to cause 
any sensation, even in the smaU community where it ob^ 
literated one of the principal members of the society. If 
the accounts given by these ladies of the character of the 
planters in this part of the South may be believed, they 
must be as idle, arrogant, ignorant,. dissolute, and feror 
cious as that mediaeval chivalry to which they are fond of 
comparing themselves ; and these are Southern women, 
and should know the people among whom they live. 

We had a long discussion on the subject of slavery, and 
they took, as usual, the old ground of justifying the sys- 
tem, where it was administered with kindness and indul- 
gence. It is not surprising that women should regard 
the question from this point of view ; they are very 3^ 
Aovajust, and are generally treated with more indulgence 
than justice by men. They were very patient of my 
strong expressions of reprobation of the whole system, 

and Mrs. A , bidding me good-by, said that, for aught 

she could tell, I might be right, and inight have been led 
down here by Providence to be the means of some great 
change in the condition of the poor colored people. 

I rode home pondering on the strange fate that has 
brought me to this place so far from where I was born, 


this existence so different in all its elements from that of 
my early years and former associations. If I believed 

Mrs. A 's parting words,I might perhaps verify them ; 

perhaps I may yet verify, although I do not believe them. 
On my retm-n home I found a most enchanting bundle of 
flowers, seijit to me by Mrs. G ; pomegranate blos- 
soms, roses, honeysuckle, every thing that blooms two 
months later with us in Pennsylvaniai. 

1 told you I had a great desire to visit Little St. Simon's, 
and the day before yesterday I determined to make an ' 
exploring expedition thither. I took M— — and the chil- 
dren, little imagining what manner of day's work was be- 
fore me. Six men rowed us in the^'iiily," and Israel 
brought the wood-wagon after us in a flat. Our navigar 
tion was a very intricate one, all through sea swamps and 
marshes, mud-banks and sand-banks, with great white 
shells and bleaching bones stuck upon sticks to mark the 
channel. We landed on this forest in the sea by Quash's 
house, the only human residence on the island. It was 
larger and better, and more substantial than the negro 
huts in general, and he seemed proiid and pleased to do 
the honors to ns. Thence we set off, by my desire, in the 
wagon through the woods to the beach ; road there was 
none, save the rough clearing that the men cut with their 
axes before us as we went slowly on. Presently we came 
to a deep dry ditch, over which there was no visible means 
of proceeding. Israel told me if we would sit still he 
would undertake to drive the wagon into and out of it ; and 
BO, indeed, he did, but how he did it is more than I can 
explain to you now, or could explain to myself then. A 
less powerful creature than Montreal could never have 
dragged us through ; and when we presently came to a 
second rather worse edition of the same, I insisted upon 
getting out and crossing it on foot. I walked half a mile 
while the wagon was dragged up and down the deep gul- 


ly, and lifted bodily over some huge trunks of fallen 
trees. The wood through which we now drove was all 
on fire, smoking, flaming, crackling, and burning round 
us. The sun glared upon us from the cloudless sky, and 
the air was one cloud of sand-flies and musqnitoes. I 
covered both my children's faces with veils and handker- 
chiefs, and repented not a little in my own breast of the 
rashness of my undertaking. The back of Israel's coat 
was covered so thick with musquitoes that one could 
hardly see the cloth ; and I felt as if we should be 
stifled if our way lay much longer through this terrible 
wood. Presently we came to another impassable place, 
and again got out of the wagon, leaving Israel to manage 
it as best he could. I walked with the baby in my arms 
a quarter of a mile, and then was so overcome with the 
heat that I sat down in the burning wood, on the floor of 
ashes, till the wagon came up again. I put the children 

and M into it, and continued to walk till we came to 

a ditch in a tract of salt marsh, over which Israel drove 
triumphantly, and I partly jumped and was partly hauled 
over, having declined the entreaties of several of the men 
to let them lie down and make a bridge with their bodies 
for me to walk over. At length we reached the skirt of 
that tremendous wood, to my unspeakable relief, and came 
upon the white sand-hillocks of the beach. The trees 
were all strained crooked, from the constant influence of 
the sea-blast. The coast was a fearful-looking stretch of 
dismal, trackless sand, and the ocean lay boundless and 
awful beyond the wild and desolate beach, from which we 
were now only divided by a patch of low, coarse-looking 
bush, growing as thick and tangled as heather, and so 
stiff and compact that it was hardly possible to drive 
through it. Yet in spite of this, several lads who had 
joined our train rushed off into it in search of rabbits, 
though Israel called repeatedly to them, warning them of 


the danger of rattlesnakes. We drove at last down to 
the smooth sea sand ; and here, outstripping our guides, 
was harred farther progress by a deep gully, down which 
it was impossible to take the wagon. Israel, not knowing 
the beach well, was afraid to drive round the mouth of it ; 
and so it was determined that from this point we should 
walk; home under his guidance. I sat in the wagon whUe 
he constructed a rough foot-bridge of bits of wood and 
broken, planks -for, us over the narrow chasm, and he then 
took Montreal out of the wagon and tied him behind it, 
leaving him for the other men to take charge of when they 
should arrive at this point. And so, having mightily de- 
sired to see the coast of Little St. Simon's Island, I did 
see it thoroughly ; for I walked a mile and a half round it, 
over beds of. sharp shells, through swanips half knee deep, 

poor little S- stumping along with dogged heroism, 

and Israel carrying the baby, except at one deep mal 

jsassso, when I took the baby and he carried S ; and 

so, through the-^Wood round Quash's house, where we ar- 
rived almost fainting with fatigue and heat, and where 
we rested' bat a short time^ for we had to start almost im- 
mediately to save the tide home. 

I called at Mr. C 's on my way back, to return him 

his son's manuscript, which I had in the boat for that piir- 
pose. I sent Jack, who had come to meet me with the 
horses, home; being too tired to attempt riding ; and, cov- 
ered with mud literally up to my knees, I was obliged to 
lie down ignominiously all the afternoon to rest. And 
now I will give you a curious illustration of the utter sub- 
serviency of' slaves. It seems that by taking the tide in 
proper season, and going by boat, all that horrible wood 
journey might have been avoided, and we could have 
reached the beach with perfect ease in half the time ; but 
beoaus'e, being of course absolutely ignorant of this, I had 
expressed a desire to go through the wood, not a syllable 


of remonstrance was uttered by any one; and the men 
not only underwent the laoor of cutting a path for the 
wagon and dragging it through and over all the impedi- 
ments we encountered, but allowed me and the children 
to traverse that burning wood, rather than tell me that by 
waiting and taking another way I- could get to the sea. 
When I expressed my astonishment ;at .their not having 
remonstrated against my order, and explained how I could 
best achieve the purpose I had in view, the sole answer I 
got even from Israel was, " Missis say so, so me do ; missis 
say me go through the wood, me no tell missis go another 
way." You see, my dear E— — , one had need bethink 
one's self what orders one gives, when one has the misfor- 
tune to be despotic. ; 

How sorry I am that I have been obliged to return that 

narrative of Mr. C 's without asking permission to 

copy it, which I did not do because I should not have been 
' able to find the time to do it ! We go away the day after 
to-morrow. All the main incidents of the disaster the 
newspapers have made you familiar with— the sudden and 
appalling loss of that fine vessel laden with the very flower 
of the South. There seerns hardly to be a family in Geor- 
gia and South Carolina that had not some of its members 
on board that ill-fated ship. You know it was a sort of 
party of pleasure more than any thing else ; the usual an- 
nual trip to the North for change, of air and scene, for the 
gayeties of Newport and Saratoga, that all the wealthy 
Southern people invariably take every summer. . 

The weather had been calm and lovely ; and dancing, 
talking, and laughing, as if they were in their own draw- 
ing-rooms, they had passed the time away till they all sep- 
arated for the night. At the first sound of the exploding 

boiler Mr. C jumped up, and in his shirt and trowsers 

ran on deck. The scene was one of horrible confusion ; 
women screaming, men swearing, the deck strewn with 


broken fragments of all descriptions, the vessel leaning 
frightfully to one side, and every body running hither and 
thither in the darkness in horror and dismay. He had 

left Georgia -with Mrs. F and Mrs. N -, the two 

children, and one of the female servants of these ladies 
under his charge. He went immediately to the door of 

the ladies' cabin and called Mrs. F '■ ; they were all 

there half dressed; he bade them dress as quickly as pos- 
sible, and be ready to follow and obey him. He returned 
almost instantly, and led them to. the side of the vessel, 
where, into the boats, that had already been lowered, des- 
perate men and women were beginning to swarm, throw- 
ing themselves out of the sinking ship. He bade Mrs. 

F jump down into one of these boats which was only 

in the possession of two sailors ; she instantly obeyed him, 
and he threw her little boy to the men"^after her. He then 

ordered Mrs. N , with the negro woman, to throw; 

themselves off tfte vessel into the boat, and, with Mrs. 

N 's baby in his arms, sprang after them. His foot 

touched the gunwale of the boat, and he fell into the wa- 
ter ; but, recovering himself instantly, he clambered into 
the boat, which he then peremptorily ordered, the men to 
set adrift, in spite of the shrieks, and cries, and cdmmands, 
and entreaties of the frantic crowds, who were endeavor- 
ing to get into it. The men obeyed him, and rowing while 
he steered, they presently fell astern of the ship, in the 
midst of the darkness, and tumult, and terror. Another 
boat laden with people was near them. For some time 
they saw the heart-rending spectacle of the sinking vessel, 
and the sea strewn with mattresses, seats, planks, etc., to 
which people were clinging, floating, and shrieking for 
succoi', in the dark water all round them. But they grad^ 
ually pulled farther and farther out of the horrible chaos 
of despair, and, with the other boat- still consorting with 
them, rowed on. They watched from a distance the pite- 


ous sight of the ill-fated steamer settling down, the gray 
girdle of light that marked the line of her beautiful saloons 
and cabins gradually sinking nearer and nearer to the 
blackness, in which they were presently extinguished ; 
and the ship, with all its precious human freight ingulfed 
— all but the handful left in those two open boats, to brave 
the dangers of that te:rrible coast! 

They were, somewhere off the North Carolina shore, 
which, when the daylight dawned, they could distinctly 
see, with its ominous line of breakers and inhospita'ble 
perilous coast. The men had continued rowing all night, 
and as the summer sun rose flaming over their heads, the 
task of pulling the boat became dreadfully severe; still 

they followed the coast, Mr. C looking out for any 

opening, creek, or small inlet that might give them a 
chance of landing in safety. The other boat rowed on at 
some little distance from them. 

All the morning, and through the tremendous heat of 
the middle day, they toiled on without a mouthful of food 
—without a drop of water. At length, toward the after- 
noon, the men at the oars said they wei-e utterly exhaust- 
ed and could row no longer, and that Mr. C must 

steer the boat ashore. With wonderful power of com- 
niand, he prevailed on them to continue their afflicting la- 
bor. The terrible blazing sun pouring on all their unshel- 
tered heads had almost annihilated them; but still there 
lay betweeii them and the land those fearful foaming 
ridges, and the women aihd children, if not the men them- 
selves, seemed doomed to inevitable death in the attempt 
to surmount them. Suddenly^ they perceived that the 
boat that had kept them company was about to adventure 

itself in the perilous experiment of landing. Mr. C 

kept his boat's head steady, the men rested on their oars, 
and watched the result of the fearful risk they were them- 
selves about to run. They saw the boat enter the break- 


ers — they saw her -whirled round and capsized, and then 
they watched, slowly emerging and dragging themselves 
out of the foaming sea, some, and only some, of the peo- 
ple that they knew the boat cpntained. Mr. C , forti- 
fied with this terrible illustration of the peril that awaited 
them, again besought them to row yet for a little while 
farther along the coast, in search of some possible place to 
take the boat safely to the beach, promising at sunset to 
give up the search, and again the poor men resumed their 
toil ; but the line of leaping breakers stretched along the 
coast as far as eye could see, and at length the men de- 
clared they could labor no longer, and insisted that Mr. 

C should steer them to shore. He then said that he 

would do so, but they must take some rest before encoun- 
tering the peril which awaited them, and for which they 
might require whatever remaining strength they could 
command. He made the menJeave the oars and lie down 
to sleep for a short time, and then, giving the helm to one 
of them, did the same himself. When they were thus a 
little refreshed with this short rest, he prepared to take 
the boat into the breakers. 

He laid Mrs. N 's baby on her breast, and wrapped 

a shawl round and round her body so as to secure the 
child to it, and said, in the event of the boat capsizing, he 

would endeavor to save her and her child. Mrs. F 

and her boy he gave in charge to oi>e. of the sailors, and 
thfe colored woman who was with her to the other, and 
they promised solemnly, in case of misadventure to the 
boat, to do their best to save these helpless creatures ; 
and so they turned, as the sun was going down, the bows 
of the boat to the terrible shore. They rose two of the 
breakers safely, but then the oar of one of the men was 
struck from his hand, and in an instant the boat whirled 

rgund and turned over. Mr. C instantly struck out 

to seize Mrs. N , but she^ had sunk, and, though he 



dived twice, he could not see her ; at last he felt her hair 
floating loose with his foot, and seizing hold of it, grasped 
her securely and swam with her to shore. While in the 
act of doing so, he saw the man who had promised to save 
the colored woman making alone for the beach ; and even 
then, in that extremity, he had power of command enough 
left to drive the fellow back to seek her, which he did, 
and brought her safe to land.' The other man kept his 

word of taking care of Mrs. F , and the latter never 

released her grasp of her child's wrist, which bore the 
mark of hei: agony for weeks after their escape. They 
reached the sands, and Mrs. N" — ■ — 's shawl having been 
unwound, her child was found laughing on her bosom. 
But hardly had they had time to thank God for their de- 
liverance when Mr. C fell fainting on the beach ; and 

Mrs. F , who told me this, said that for one dreadful 

moment they thought that the preserver of all their lives 
had lost his own in the terrible exertion and anxiety that 
he had undergone. He revived, however, and crawling a 
little farthei: up the beach, they burrowed for warmth and 
shelter as well as they could in the sand, and lay there 
till the next morning, when they sought and found succor. 

You can not imagine, my dear E , how strikingly 

throughout this whole narrative the extraordinary power 

of Mr. 0^= 's character makes itself felt — the immediate 

obedience that he obtained from women whose terror 
might have made them linmahageable, and men whose 
selfishness might have defied his control ; the wise though 
painful firmness which enabled him to order the boat 
away from the side of the perishing vessel,' in spite of the 
pity that he felt for the many, in attempting to succor 
whom he could only have jeopardized the few whom he 
was bound to save ; the wonderful influence he exercised 
over the poor oarsmen, whose long protracted labor post- 
poned to the last possible moment the terrible risk of 


their landing. The firmness, courage, humanity, wisdom, 
and presence of mind of all his preparations for their final 
tremendous risk, and the authority which he was able to 
exercise, while struggling in the foaming water for his 
own life and that of the woman and child he was saving, 
over the man who was proving false to a similar sacred 
charge — all these admirable traits are most miserably 
transmitted to you by niy imperfect account ; and when I 
assure you that his own narrative, full as it necessarily 
was of the details of his own heroism, was as simple, mod- 
est, and unpretending, as it was interesting and touching, 
I am sure you will agree with me that he must be a very 
rare man. When I spoke with enthusiasm to his old fa- 
ther of his son's noble conduct, and asked him if he was 
not proud of it, his sole reply was, " I am glad, madam, 
my son was- not selfish." 

Now, E — '■ — , I have often spoken with you and written 
to you of the disastrous efiect of slavery upon the char- 
acter of tlie white men implicated in it ; many among 
themselves feel and acknowledge it to the fullest extent, 
and no onq more than myself can deplore that any human 
being I love should be subjected to such baneful influ- 
ences ; but the devil must have his due, and men brought 
up in habits of peremptory command over their fellow- 
men, and under the constant apprehension of danger, and 
awful necessity of immediate readiness to meet it, acquire 
qualities precious to themselves and others in hours of su- 
preme peril such as this man passed through, saving by 
their exercise himself and all committed to his charge. I 
know that the Southern men are apt to deny the fact that 
they do live under an habitual sense of danger ; but a 
slave population, coerced into obedience, though unarmed 
and half fed, is a threatening source of constant insecurity, 
and every Southern woman to whom I have spoken on 
the subject has admitted to me that they liv-e in terror of 


tteir slaves. Happy are such of them as have protectors 
like J C -. Such, men will best avoid and best en- 
counter the perils that may assail them from the abject 
subject, human element, in the control of which their no- 
ble faculties are sadly and unworthily employed. 

Wednesday, \1th April. I rode to-day, after breakfast, 

to Mrs. D 's, another of my neighbors, who lives full 

twelve miles off. During the last two miles of my expe- 
dition I had the white sand hillocks and blue line of the 
Atlantic in view. The house at which I called was a 
tumble-down barrack of a dwelling in the woods, with a 
sort of poverty-stricken pretentious air about it, like sun- 
dry " proud planters' " dwellings that I have seen. I was 
received by the sons as well as the lady of the house, and 
could not but admire the lordly rather than manly indif- 
ference with which these young gentlemen, in gay guard- 
chains and fine attire, played the gallants to me, while 
filthy, barefooted, half-naked negro women brought in re- 
freshments, and stood all the while fanning the cake, and 
sweetmeats, and their young masters," as if they had been 
all the same sort of stuff. I felt ashamed for the lads. 

The conversation turned upon Dr. H 's trial ; for there 

has been a trial as a matter of form, and an acquittal as a 
matter of course ; and the gentlemfo said, upon my ex- 
pressing some surprise at the latter event, that there could 
not be found in all Georgia a jury who would convict 
him, which says but little for the moral sense of" all Geor- 
gia." From this most painful subject we fell into the 
Brunswick Canal, and thereafter I took my leave and rode 
home. I met my babies in the wood-wagon, and took 

S up before me, and gave her a good gallop home. 

Having reached the house with the appetite of a twenty- 
four miles' ride, I found no preparation for dinner, and not 
so much as a boiled potato to eat, and the sole reply to 
my famished and disconsolate exclamations was, " Being 


that yoTi order none, missis, I not know." I had forgot-" 
ten to order my dinner, and my slaves, nnauthorized, had 
not ventured to prepare any. Wouldn't a Yankee have 
said, " Wal, now, you went off so uncommon quick, I 
kinder guessed you forgot all about dinner," and have had 
it all ready for me ? But my slaves durst not, and so I 
fasted till some tea could be got for me. 

This was the last letter I wrote from the plantation, 
and I never returned there, nor ever saw again any of the 
poor people among whom I lived during, this winter but 
Jack, once, under sad circumstances. The poor lad's 
health failed so completely that his owners humanely 
brought him to the North, to try what benefit he might 
derive from the change ; but this was before the passing 
of the Fugitive Slave Bill, when, touching the soil of the 
Northern states, a slave became free ; and such was the 
apprehension felt lest Jack should be enlightened as to 
this fact by some philanthropic Abolitionist, that he was 
kept shut up in a high upper room of a large empty house, 
where even I was not allowed to visit him. I heard at 
length of his being in Philadelphia ; and upon my distinct 
statement that I considered freeing their slaves the busi- 
ness of the Messrs. themselves, and not mine, I was 

at length permitted to see him. Poor fellow ! coming to 
the North did not prove to him the delight his eager de- 
sire had so often anticipated from it ; nor, under such cir- 
cumstances, is it perhaps much to be wondered at that he 
benefited but little by the change — he died not long after. 

I once heard a conversation between Mr. O and 

Mr. K , the two overseers^ of- the plantation on which 

I was living, upon the question of taking slaves, servants, 

necessary attendants, into the Northern states ; Mr. O 

urged the danger of their being " got hold of," i. e,, set 


free by the Abolitionists, to -whicb Mr. K very per- 
tinently replied, " Oh, stuff and nonsense ; I take care, 
when my wife goes North with the children, to send Lucy 
with her ; her children are down here, and I defy all the 
Abolitionists in creation to get her to stay North." Mr. 
K was an extremely wise man. 


I WEOTE the following letter after reading several lead- 
ing articles in the Times newspaper, at the time of the 
great sensation occasioned by Mrs. Beecher Stowe's. novel 
of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," and after the Anti-slavery Pro- 
test which that book induced the women of England to 
address to, those of America on the subject of the con- 
dition of the slaves in the Southern states. 

Mt deae E ,-^I have read the articles in the Times 

to which you refer on the subject of the inaccuracy of 
Mrs. Beecher Stowe's book as a picture of slavery in 
America, and have, ascertained who they were written by. 
Having done so, I do not think it worth while to send 
my letter for insertion, because, as that is the tone de- 
liberately taken upon the subject by that paper, my 
counter statement would not, I imagine, be admitted into 
its columns. I inclose it to you, as I should like you to 
see how far from true, according to my experience, the 
statements of the " Times^ Correspondent" are. It is 
impossible, of course, to know why it erects itself into an 
advocate for slavery ; and the most charitable conjecture 
I can form upoH the subject is, that the Stafford House 
demonstration may have been thought likely to wound 
the sensitive national views of America upon this subject ; 
and the statement put forward by the Times, contradict- 
ing Mrs. Stowe's picture, may be intended to soothe their 
irritation at the philanthropic zeal of our lady Abolition- 
ists. Believe me, dear E , yours always truly, 

F. A. K. 


Letter to the Editor of the " Times." 
SiE, — As it is not to be supposed that you consciously 
afford the support of your great influence to misstate- 
, ments, I request your attention to some remarks I wish 
to make on an article on a book called "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin as it is," contained in your paper of the 11th. In 
treating Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's ■work as an exag- 
gerated picture of the evils of slavery, I beg to assure you 
that you do her serious injustice : of the merits of her 
book as a work of art I have no desire to speak; to its 
power as a most interesting and pathetic story, all En- 
gland and America can bear witness ; but of its truth and 
moderation as a representation of the slave system in the 
United States, I can testify with the experience of an eye- 
witness, having been a resident in the Southern states, 
and had opportunities of observation such as no one who 
has not lived on a slave estate can have. It is very true 
that in reviving the altogether exploded fashion of mak- 
ing the hero of her novel " the perfect monster that the 
world ne'er saw," Mrs. Stowe has laid herself open to fair 
criticism, and must expect to meet with it from the very 
opposite taste of the present day ; but the ideal excellence 
of her principal character is no argument at all against 
the general accuracy of her statements with regard to the 
evils of slavery ; every thing else in her book is not only 
possible, but probable, and not only probable, but a very 
faithful representation of the existing facts : faithful, and 
not, as you accuse it of being, exaggerated; f6r, with the 
exception of the horrible catastrophe, the flogging to 
death of poor Tom, she has portrayed none of the most 
revolting instances of crime produced by the slave sys- 
tem, with which she might have darkened her picture^ 
without detracting from its perfect truth. Even with re- 
spect to the incident of Tom's death, it must not be said 


that if such an event is possible, it is hardly probable ; for 
this is. unfortunately not true. It is not true that the 
value of the slave as property infallibly protects his life 
from the passions of his master. It is no new thing for a 
man's passions to blind him to his most obvious and im- 
mediate temporal interests, as well as to his higher and 
everlasting ones — ^in various parts of the world and stages 
of civilization, various human passions assume successive 
prominence, and become developed,, to the partial exclu- 
sion or dejidening of others. Insayage existence, and 
those states of civilization least removed from it, the ani- 
mal passions predominate. In highly cultivated modern 
society, where the complicated machinery of human exist- 
eivce is at once a perpetually renewed cause and effect of 
certain legal and moral restraints, which, in the shape of 
government and public opinion, protect the congregated 
lives and interests of men from the worst outrages of 
open violencci the natural selfishness of mankind assumes 
a different development, and the love of power, of pleas- 
ure, or of pelf, exhibits different phenomena {rorSf> those 
elicited from a savage under the influence of the same 
passions. The channel in which the energy and activity 
of modern society inclines more and more to pour itself 
is the peaceful one of the pursuit of gain. This is pre- 
eminently the case with the two great commercial nations 
«of the earth, England and America ; and in either En- 
gland or the Northern, states of America, the prudential 
and practical views of life prevail so far, that instances of 
men sacrificing their money interests at the instigation 
of rage^ revenge, and hatred will certainly not abound. 
But the Southern slaveholders are a very different race 
of men from either Manchester manufacturers or Massa- 
chusetts merchants; they are a remnant of barbarism and 
feudalism, maintaining itself with infinite difiiculty and 
danger, by the side of the latest and most powerful de- 
velopment of commercial civilization. 


The inhabitants of Baltimore, RicHmond, Charleston, 
Savannah, and New Orleans, whose estates lie, like the 
suburban retreats of our city magnates, in the near neigh- 
borhood of their respective cities, are not now the people 
I refer to. They are softened and enlightened by many 
influences — the action of city life itself, where ' human 
sympathy and human respect, stimulated by neighbor- 
hood, produce salutary social restraint as well as less salu- 
tary social cowardice. They travel to the Northern states 
and to Europe, and Europe and the Northern states travel 
to them, and, in spite of themselves, their peculiar condi- 
tions receive modifications from foreign intei"course. - Th~e 
influence, too, of commercial enterprise, which in-these lat- 
ter days is becoming the agent of civilization all over the 
earth, affects even the uncommercial residents of the South- 
ern cities, and, however cordially they may dislike or de- 
spise the mercantile tendencies of Atlantic Americans or 
transatlantic Englishmen, their frequent contact with them 
breaks down some of the barriers of difference between 
them, and humanizes the slaveholder of the great' cities 
into some relation with the spirit of his own tinies and 
country. But these men are but a most inconsiderable 
portion of the slaveholding population of the South — a 
nation, for as such they should be spoken of, of men whose 
organization and temperament is' that of the southern Eu- 
ropean ; living, under the influence of a climate at once 
enervating and exciting ; scattered over trackless wilder- 
nesses of arid sand and pestilential swamp ; intrenched 
within their own boundaries ; surrounded by creatures 
absolutely subject totheir despotic will; delivered over 
by hard necessity to the lowest excitements of drinking, 
gambling, and debauchery for sole recreation ; independ- 
ent of all opinion ; ' ignorant of all progress ; isolated from 
all society — it is impossible to conceive a more savage ex- 
istence within the pale of any modern civilization. 


The South Carolinian gentry have been fond of styling 
themselves the chivalry of the South, and perhaps might 
not badly represent, in their relations with their depend- 
ents, the nobility of France before the purifying hurricane 
of the Revolution swept the rights of the suzerain and the 
wrongs of the serf together into one bloody abyss. The 
planters of the interior of the Southern and Southwestern 
states, with their furious feuds and slaughterous combats, 
their stabbiogs and pistolings, their gross sensuality, bru- 
tal ignorance, and despotic cruelty, resemble the chivalry 
of France before the horrors of the Jacquerie admonished 
them that there was a limit even to the endurance of slaves. 
With such men as these, human life, even when it can be 
bought or sold in the market for so many dollars, is but 
little protected by . considerations of interest from the 
effects of any violent passion.' There is yet, however, an- 
other aspect of the question, which is, that it is sometimes 
clearly noif the interest of the owner to prolong the life of 
his slaves ; as in the case of inferior or superaniiuated la- 
borers, or the very notorious instance in which some of 
the owners of sugar plantations stated that they found it 
better worth their while to work off {i. e., kill with labor) 
a certain proportion of their force, and replace them by 
new hands every seven years, than work them less severe- 
ly and maintain them in diminished efficiency for an indef- 
inite-length of time. Here you will obsierve a precise es- 
timate of the planter's material interest led to a result 
which you argue passion itself can never be so blind as to 
adopt. This was a deliberate economical calculation, 
openly avowed some years ago by a number of sugar 
planters in Louisiana. If, instead of accusing Mrs. Stowe 
of exaggeration, you had brought the same charge against 
the author of the " White Slave," I should not have been 
surprised ; for his book presents some of the most revolt- 
ing instances of atrocity and crime that the miserable 


abuse of irresponsible power is capable of producing, and 
it is by no means written in the spirit of universal human- 
ity which pervades Mrs. Stowe's volumes ; but it is not 
liable to the charge of exaggeration any more than her 
less disgusting delineation. The scenes described in the 
"White Slave" c?o. occur in the slave states of North 
America ; and in two of the most appalling incidents of 
the book — the burning alive of the captured runaway, and 
the hanging without trial of the Vicksburg gamblers — 
the author of the " White Slg,ve" has very simply related 
positive facts of notorious occurrence. To which he might 
have added, had he seen fit to do so, the instance of a slave 
who perished in the sea^swamps, where he was left bound 
and naked, a prey to the torture inflicted upon him by the 
venomous musquito swarms. My . purpose^ however, in 
addressing you was not to enter into a disquisition on 
either of these publications ; but I am not sorry to take 
this opportunity of bearing witness to the truth of Mrs. 
Stowe's . admirable book, and I have seen what^ew En- 
glishmen can see — the working of the system in the midst 
ofit. ' 

In reply to your " Dispassionate Observer," who went 
to the South professedly with the purpose of seeing and 
judging of the state of things for himself, let me teU you 
that, little as he may be disposed to believe it, his testit 
mony is worth less than nothing ; for it is moraIly,impos- 
sible for any Englishman going into the Southern states, 
except as a resident, to know any thing whatever of the 
real condition of the slave population. This was the case 
some years ago, as I experienced, and it is now likely to, 
be more the case than ever ; for the institution is not yet 
approved divine to the perceptions of Englishmen, and 
the Southerners are as anxious to hide its uglier features 
from any note-making observer from this side of the wa- 
ter as to present to his admiration and approval sucL as 


can by any possibility be made to wear the most distant 
approach to comeliness. 

The gentry of the Southern states are pre-eminent in 
their own country for that species of manner which, con- 
trasted with the breeding of the Northerner^,, would be 
emphatically pronounced " good" by Englishmen. Born 
to inhabit landed property, they are not inevitably made 
clerks and counting-house men of, but inherit with their 
estates some of the invariable characteristics of an aristoc- 
racy. The shop is not their element ; and the eager spirit 
of speculation and the sordid spirit of gain do not infect 
their whole existence, even to their very demeanor and 
appearance, as they too manifestly do those of a large pro- 
portion of the inhabitants of the Northern states. Good 
manners have an undue value for Englishmen, generally 
speaking; and whatever departs from their peculiar stand- 
ard of breeding is apt to prejudice them, as wh'atever ap- 
proaches it prepossesses them, far more than is reasonable. 
The Southerners are infinitely better bred men, according 
to English notions, than the men of the Northern states. 
The habit of command gives them a certain self-possession, 
the- enjoyment of leisure a certain ease. Their tempera- 
ment is impulsive and enthusiastic, and their manners have 
the grace and spirit which seldom belong to the deport- 
ment of a Northern people; but, upon more familiar ac- 
quaintance, the vices of the social system to which they 
belong will be found to have infected them with their own 
peculiar taint; and haughty, overbearing irritability, ef- 
feminate indolence, reckless extravagance, and a union of 
profligacy and cruelty, which is the immediate result of 
their irresponsible power over their dependentSj are some 
of the less pleasing traits which acquaintance develops in 
a Southern character. In spite of all this, there is no man- 
ner of doubt that the " candid English observer" will, for 
the season of his sojourning among them, greatly prefer 


their intercourse to that of their Northern hrethren. More- 
over, without in the least suspecting it, he will he brihed 
insidiously and incessantly by the extreme desire and en- 
deavor to please and prepossess him which the whole 
white population of the slave states will exhibit — as long 
as he goes only as a " candid observer," with a mind not 
yet made up upon the subject of slavery, and open to con- 
viction as to its virtues. Every conciliating demonstra- 
tion of courtesy and hospitable kindness will be extended 
to him, and, as I said before, if his observation is permit- 
ted (and it may even appear to be courted), it will be to 
a fairly boimd; purified edition of the black book of slav- 
ery, in which, though the inherent viciousness of the whole 
story can not be suppressed, the coarser and more offens- 
ive passages will be carefully expunged. And now per- 
mit me to observe tha.t the remarks of your traveler must 
derive much of their value from the scene of his inquiry. 
In Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia, the outward aspect 
of slavery has ceased to wear its most deplorable features. 
The remaining vitality of the system no longer resides in 
the interests, but in the pride and prejudices of the plant- 
ers. Their soil and climate are alike favorable to the la- 
bors of a white peasantry : the slave cultivation has had 
time to prove itself there the destructive pest which, in 
time, it will prove itself wherever it prevails. The vast 
estates and lai-ge fortunes that once maintained, and were 
maintained by, the serfdom of hundreds of negroes, have 
dwindled in size and sunk in value, till the slaves have be- 
come so heavy a burden on the resources of the exhausted 
soil and impoverished owners of it, that they are made 
. themselves objects of traffic in order to ward off the ruin 
that their increase would otherwise entail. Thus the plan- 
tations of the N'orthern slave states now present to the 
traveler very few of the darker and more oppressive pe- 
culiarities of the system ; and, provided he does not stray 


too near the precincts where the negroes are sold, or come 
across gangs of them on their way to Georgia, Louisiana, 
or Alabama, he may, if he is a very superficial observer, 
conclude that the most prosperous slavery is not much 
worse than the most miserable freedom. 

But of what value will be such conclusions applied to 
those numerous plantations where no white man ever sets 
foot without the express permission of the owner ? not 
estates lying close to Baltimore and Charleston, or even 
Lexington and Savannah, but remote and savage wilder- 
nesses like Legree's estate in " Uncle Tom," like all the 
plantations in the. interior of Tennessee and Alabama, like 
the cotton-fields and rice-swamps of the great muddy liv- 
ers of Louisiana and Georgia, like the dreary pine barrens 
and endless woody wastes of North Carolina. These, es- 
pecially the islands, are like so many fortresses, approach- 
able for " observers" only at the owners' will. On most 
of the rice plantations in these pestilential regions, no 
white man can pass the night at certain seasons of the 
year without running the risk of his life ; and during the 
day, the master and overseer are as much alone and irre- 
sponsible in their dominion over their black cattle, as Rob- 
inson Crusoe was over his small family of animals on his 
desert habitation. Who, on such estates as these, shall 
witness to any act of tyranny or barbarity, however atro- 
cious ? No black man's testimony is allowed against a 
white, and who, on the dismal swampy rice-grounds of the 
Savannah, or the sugar-brakes of the Mississippi and its 
tributaries, or the up-country cotton-lands of the Ocmul- 
gee, shall go to perform the task of candid observation 
and benevolent inquiry ? 

I passed some time on two such estates — plantations 
where the negroes esteemed themselves well ofi", and, com- 
pared with the slaves on several of the neighboring prop- 
erties, might very well consider themselves so ; and I will, 


with your permission, contrast some of the items of my 
observation with those of the traveler -whose report you 
find so satisfactory on the subject of the " consolations" 
of slavery. 

And, first, for the attachment -which he affirms to sub- 
sist between the slave and master. I do not deny that 
certain manifestations on the part of the slave may sug- 
gest the idea of such a feeling ; but whether^ upon better 
examination, it will be found to deserve the name, I very 
much doubt. In the first place, on some of the great 
Southern estates, the owners are habitual absentees, ut- 
terly unknown to their serfs, and enjoying the proceeds 
of their labor in residences as far remote as possible from 
the sands and swamps where their rice and cotton grow, 
and their slaves bow themselves under the eye of the 
white overseer, and the lash of the black driver. Some 
of these Sybarites prefer living in Paris, that paradise of 
American republicans, some in the capitals of the Middle 
States of the Union, Philadelphia or New York. 

The air of New England has a keen edge of liberty, 
which suits few Southern constitutions; and unkindly as 
abolition has found its native soil and native skies, that is 
its birthplace, and there it flourishes, in spite of all at- 
tempts to root it out and trample it down, and within any 
atmosphere poisoned by its influence no slaveholder can 
willingly draw breath. Some travel in Europe, and few, 
whose means permit the contrary, ever pass the entire 
year on their plantations. Great intervals of many years 
pass, and no master ever visits some of these properties : 
what species of attachment do you think the slave enter- 
tains for him ? In other cases, the visits made will be of 
a few days in one of the winter months, the estate and its 
cultivators remaining for the rest of the year under the 
absolute control of the overseer, who, provided he con- 
trives to get a good crop of rice or cotton into the mar- 


ket for his employers, is left to the arbitrary exercise of a 
will seldom uninfluenced for evil by the combined effects 
of the grossest ignorance and habitual intemperance. The 
temptation to the latter vice is almost irresistible to a 
white man in such a climate, and leading an existence of 
brutal isolation, among a parcel of human beings as like 
brutes as they can be made. But the owner who at these 
distant intervals of months or years revisits his estates, is 
looked upon as a returning providence by the poor ne- 
groes. They have no experience of his character to de- 
stroy their hopes in his goodness, and all possible and im- 
possible ameliorations of their condition are anticipated 
from his advent, less work, more food, fewer stripes, and 
some of that consideration which the slave hopes may 
spring from his positive money value to his owner — a fal- 
lacious dependence, as I have already attempted to show, 
but one which, if it has not always predominating weight 
with the master, never can have any with the overseer, 
who has not even the feeling of regard' for his own prop- 
erty to mitigate his absolutism over the slaves of another 

There is a very powerful cause whict makes the pros- 
perity and well-being (as far as life is concerned) of most 
piasters a subject of solicitude with their slaves. The 
only stabihty of their condition, siich as it is, hangs upon 
it. If the owner of a plantation dies, his estate's may fall 
into the market, and his slaves be sold at public auction 
the next day; and whether this promises a better, or 
threatens a worse condition, the slaves can 'not know, and 
no human being cares. One thing it inevitably biings, 
the uprooting of all old associations ; 'the disruption of all 
the ties of fellowship in misery; the tearing asunder of 
all relations of blood and affection ; the sale into separate 
and far -distant districts of fathers, mothers, husbands, 
wives, and children. Ifthe estate does not lie in the ex- 


treme South, there is the vague dread of being driven 
thither from Virginia to Georgia, from Carolina to Ala- 
bama, or Louisiana, a change which, for reasons I have 
shown above, implies the passing from a higher into a low- 
er circle of the infernal pit of slavery. 

I once heard a slave on the plantation of an absentee 
express the most lively distress at hearing that his master 
was ill. Before, however, I had recovered from my sur- 
prise at this warm '' attachment" to a distant and all but 
unknown proprietor, the man added, "Massa die, what 
become of all him people ?" 

On my arrival on the plantation where I resided, I was 
hailed with the nibst extravagant demonstrations of de- 
light, and all but lifted off my feet in the arms of people 
who had never seen me before, but who, knowing me to 
be connected with their owners, expected from me some 
of the multitudinous benefits which they always hope to 
derive from masters. These, until they come to reside 
among them, are always believed to be sources of benefi- 
cence and fountains of redress by the poor people, who 
have known no rule but the delegated tyranny of the 
overseer. In these expectations, however, they very soon 
find themselves cruelly mistaken. Of course, if the ab- 
sentee planter has received a satisfactory income from his. 
estate, he is inclined to be satisfied with the manager of 
it ; and as subordination to the only white man among 
hundreds of blacks must be maintained at any and every 
cost, the overseer is justified and upheld in his whole ad- 
ministration. -If the wretched slave ever dared to prefer 
a complain^ of ill usage the most atrocious, the law which 
refuses the testimony of a black against a white is not 
only the law of the land, but of every man's private deal- 
ings ; and lying being one of the natural results of slavery, 
and a tendency to shirk compelled and unrequited labor 
another, the overseer stands on excellent vantage-ground 


when he refers to these undoubted characteristics of the 
system, if called upon to rebut any charge of cruelty or 
injustice. But pray consider for a moment the probability 
of. any such charge being preferred by a poor creature 
who has been for years left to the absolute disposal of this 
man, and who knows very well that, in a few days, or 
months at farthest, the master, will again depart, leaving 
him again for months, perhaps for years, utterly at the 
mercy of the man against whom he has dared to prefer a 
complaint. On the estates which I visited, the owners 
bad been habitually absent, and the " attachment" of slaves 
to such masters as these, you will allow, can hardly come 
under the denomination of a strong personal feeling. 

Your authority next states that the infirm and superan- 
nuated slaves no longer capable of ministering to their 
masters' luxuries, on the estate that he visited, were end- 
ing their lives among all the comforts of home, with kin- 
dred and friends around them, in a condition which he 
contrasts, at least by implication, very favorably with the 
work-house, the last refuge provided by the social human- 
ity of England for the pauper laborer when he has reached 
that term when " unregarded age is in corners thrown." 
On the :plantation where I lived the Infirmary was a large 
room, the walls of which, were simply mud and laths ; the 
floor, the soil, itself, damp with perpetual drippings from 
the holes in the roof j and the open space which served 
for a window was protected only by a broken shutter, 
which, in order to exclude the cold, was drawn so near as 
almost to exclude the light at the same time. Upon this 
earthen floor, with nothing but its hard, daqjp surface 
beneath him,. no covering but a tattered shirt and trow- 
sers, and a few, sticks, under his head for a pillow, lay an 
old man of upward of seventy, dying. When I first 
looked at him I thought, by the glazed stare of his eyes, 
and the flies that had gathered round his half-open moUth, 

312 APPENDIX. ■ 

that he was dead ; but on stooping nearer, I perceived 
that the last faint struggle of life was still going on, but 
even while I bent over him it ceased ; and so, like a worn- 
out hound, with no creature to comfort or relieve his last 
agony, with neither Christian solace or human succor near 
him, with neither wife, nor child, nor even friendly fellow- 
being to lift his head from the knotty sticks on which he 
had rested it, or diive away the insects that buzzed round 
his lips and nostrils like those of -a fallen beast, died 
this poor old slave, whose life had been exhausted in un- 
requited labor, the fruits of which had gone to pampee 
the pride and feed the luxury of those who knew and 
cared neither for his life or death, and to whom, if they 
had heard of the latter, it would have been a matter of 
absolute though small gain, th& saving of a daily pittance 
of meal, which served to prolong a life no longer available 
to them. 

I proceed to the next item in your observer's record. 
All children below the age of twelve were unemployed^ 
he says, on the estate he visited : this is perhaps a ques- 
tionable benefit, when, no process of mental cultivation 
being permitted, the only employment for the leisure thus 
allowed is that of rolling, like dogs or cats, in the sand 
and the sun. On all the plantations I visited, and on 
those where I resided, th^ infants in arms were committed 
to the care of thes$ juvenile slaves, "^rho were denominated: 
nurses, and whose sole employment was what they call to 
" mind baby." The poor little negro sucklings were cared 
for (I leave to your own judgment how eflBciently or how 
tenderly)' by these half-savage slips of slavery-^carried by 
them to the fields where their mothers were working iun- 
der the lash, to receive their "needful nourishment, and 
then carried back again to the " settlement," or collection 
of negro huts, where they wallowed unheeded in utter 
filth and neglect until the time again returned for their 


being carried to their mother's hreast. Such was the em- 
ployment of the children of eight or nine years old, and 
the only supervision exercised over either babies or 
"baby-minders" was that of the old w6man left in charge 
of the Infirmary, where she made her abode all day long, 
and bestowed such samples of.her care and skill upon its 
inmates as I shall hav.e occasion 'to mention presently. 
The practice of'thus. driving the mothers afield, even 
while' their infants were!- still dependent upon them for 
their daily nourishment, is one of which the evU as well 
as the cruelty is abundantly apparent without comment. 
The next note of admiration elicited from your " impartial 
observer" is bestowed, upon the fact that the domestic 
servants (i. e., house slaves) on the plantation he visited 
were aUowed to live away from the owner's residence, and 
to marry. But I never was on a Southern plantation, and 
I never heard of one, where any of the slaves were aUowed 
to sleep under the same roof with theiiT owner. With the 
exception of the women to whose care the children of the 
plantei', if he had any, might be confided, and perhaps a 
little boy or girl slave, kept as a sort of pet animal, and 
allowed to pass the night on the floor of the sleeping 
apartment of some member of the family, the residence of 
any slaves belonging to a plantation night and day in 
their master's house, like Northern or European servants, 
is a thing I believe unknown throughout the Southern 
states. Of course I except the cities, aiid speak only of 
the estaites, where the house-servants are neither better 
housed or accommodated than the field-hands. Their in- 
tolerably, dirty habits and offensive persons would indeed 
render it a severe trial to any family accustomed to habits 
of decent cleanliness ; and, moreover, considerations of 
safety, and that cautious vigilance which is a hard neces- 
sity of the planter's existence, in spite of the supposed 
attachment of his slaves, would never permit the near 



proximity, during the, unprotected hours of the night, of 
those whose intimacy with the daily habits and knowledge 
of the nightly securities resorted to might prove terrible 
auxiliaries to any attack from without. The city guards, 
patrols, and night-watches, together with their stringent 
rules about about negroes being abroad after night, and 
their well-fortified lock-up houses for all detected without 
a pass, afibrd some security against these attached de- 
pendents ; but on remote plantations, where the owner 
and his family, and perhaps a white overseer are alone, 
surrounded by slaves and separated from all succor against 
them, they do not sleep under the white man's roof, and 
for politic reasons, pass the night away from their mas- 
ter's abode. The house-servants have no other or better 
allowance, of food than the field-laborers, but have the 
advantage of eking it out by what is left from the mas- 
ter's table — if possible, with even less comfort in' one re- 
spect, inasmuch as no time whatever is set apart for their 
meals, which they snatch at any hour and in any way that 
they can — ^generally, however, standing or squatting on 
their hams round the kitchen fire ; the kitchen being a 
mere out-house or barn with a fire in it. On the estate 
where I lived, as I have mentioned, they had no sleeping- 
rooms in the house ; but when their work was over, they 
retired like the rest to their hovels, the discomfort of 
which had to them all the additional disadvantage of com- 
parison, with their owner's mode of living. In all estab- 
lishinents whatever, of course some disparity exists be- 
tween the accommodation of the drawing-rooms and best 
bedrooms and the servants' kitchen and attics ; but on a 
plantation it is no longer a matter of degree. The young 
women .who performed the offices of waiting and house- 
maids, and the lads who attended upon the service of their 
master's table where I lived, had neither table to feed at 
nor chair to sit down upon themselves ; the " boys" lay 


all night on the hearth by the kitchen fire, and the -women 
upon the usual slave's bed — a frame of rough boards, strew- 
ed with a little moss off the trees, with' the addition per- 
haps of a tattered and filthy blanket. As for the so-call- 
ed privilege of marrying-^surely it -is gross mockery to 
apply such a word to a bond which may be holy in God's 
sight, but which did not prevent the owner of a planta- 
tion where my observations were made from selling and 
buying men and their so-called wives and children into 
divided bondage, nor the white overseer from compelling 
the wife of one of the most excellent and exemplary of 
his master's slaves to live with him; nor the white wife 
of another overseer, in her husband's temporary absence 
from the estate, from barbarously flogging three married 
slaves within a month of their confinement, t^eir condi- 
tion being the result of the profligacy of the said overseer, 
and probably compelled by the very same lash by which 
it was punished. This is a very disgusting picture of 
married life on slave estates ; but I have undertaken to 
reply to the statements of your informa,nt,andI regret 
to be obliged to record the facts by which alone I can do 
BO. " Work," continues your authority, " began at six 
in the morning; at nine an hour's rest was allowed for 
breakfast, and by two or three o'clock the day's work 
was. done." Certainly this was a pattern plantation, and 
I can only lament that my experience lay amid such far 
less favorable circumstances. The negroes among whom 
I lived went to the fields at daybreak, carrying with them 
their allowance of food, which toward noon, and not till 
then, they ate, cooking it over a fire which they kindled 
as best they could where they were working ; their seo- 
and meal in the day was >at night, after their labor was 
over, having worked at the very least six hours without 
rest or refreshment since their noonday meal — properly 
so called, indeed, for it was meal and nothing else, or a 


preparation something thicker than porridge, which they 
call hominy. Perhaps the candid observer, whose report 
of the estate he visited appeared to you so consolatory, 
wonld think that this diet contrasted favorably with that 
of potato and buttermilk fed Irish laborers. But a more 
just comparison surely would be with the mode of livr 
ing of the laboring population of the United States, the 
peasantry of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, or 
indeed with the condition of those very potato and but- 
termilk fed Irishmen when they have exchanged their 
native soil for the fields of the Northern and North- 
western states, and when, as one of them once was heard 
to say, it was of no use writing home that he got meat 
three times a day, for nobody in Ireland would believe 
it. The next item in the list of commendation is the 
hospital, which your informant also visited, and of which 
he gives the following account : " It consisted of three 
sepai-ate wards, all clean and well ventilated": one was for 
lying-in women, who were invariably allowed a month's 
rest after their confinement." Permit me to place be- 
side this picture that of a Southern Infirmary, such as I 
.saw it, and taken on the spot. In the first room that 
I entered I found only half of the windows, of which 
there were six, glazed ; these Were almost as much ob- 
scured with dirt as the other windowless ones were dark- 
ened by the dingy shutters which the shivering inmates 
had closed in order to protect themselves from the cold. . 
In the enormous chimney glimmered the powerless em- 
bers of a few chips of wood, round which as many of 
the sick women as had strength to approach were cow- 
ering, some on wooden settles (there was not such a thing 
as a cbair with a back in the whole establishment),, most 
of them on the ground, excluding those who were too ill 
to rise; and these poor wretches lay prostrate on the 
earth, without bedstead, bed, mattress, or pillow, with no 


covering but the clothes they had on and some filthy rags 
of blanket in which they endeavored to wrap themselves 
as they lay literally strewing the floor, so that there was 
hardly room to pass between them. Here, ia their hour of 
sickness and suffering, lay those whose health and strength 
had given way under unrequited labor— some of them, no 
later than the previous day, had been urged with the lash 
to their accustomed tasks — and their husba,nds, fathers, 
brothers, and sons were even at that hour sweating over 
the earth whose increase was to procure for others all the 
luxuries which health can enjoy, all the comforts which can 
alleviate sickness. Here lay women expecting every hour 
the terror and agonies of childbirth, others who had just 
brought their doomed offspring into the world, others 
who were groanipg under the anguish and bitter disap- 
pointment of miscarriages — ^here lay some burning with 
fever, others chilled with cold and aching with rheumar 
tism, upon the hard cold ground, the draughts and damp 
of the atmosphere increasing their sufferings, and dirt, 
noise, stench, and-every aggravation of which sickness is 
capable combined in their condition. There had been 
among them one or two cases of prolonged and terribly 
hard labor ; and the method adopted by the ignorant old 
negress, who was the sole matron, midwife, nurse, physi- 
cian, surgeon, and servant of the Infirmary, to assist them 
in their extreniity, was to tie a cloth' tight round the throats 
of the agonized women, and by: drawing it till she almost 
suffocated them she produced violent and spasmodic strug- 
gles, which she assured me she thought materially assist- 
ed the progress of the labor. This was one of the South- 
ern Infirmaries with which I was acquainted ; and 1 beg to 
conclude this chapter of contrasts to your informant's con- 
solatory views of slavery by asBuring you once more very 
emphatically that they have been one and all drawn from 
estates 'Where the slaves esteemed themselves well treat- 


ed, were reputed generally to be so, and undoubtedly;- as 
far as my observation went, were so, compared with those 
on several of the adjoining plantations. 

With regard to the statement respecting the sums of 
money earned by industrious negroes, there is no doubt 
that it is perfectly correct. I know of some slaves on a 
plantation in the extreme South who had received, at va- 
rious times, large sums of money from a shopkeeper in the 
small town near their estate for the gray moss or lichen 
collected from the evergreen oaks of Carolina and Geor- 
gia, upon which it hangs in vast masses, and after some 
cleaning process becomes an excellent substitute for horse- 
hair, for bed, chair, and sofarstuffing. On another estate, 
some of the slaves were expert boat-makers, and had been 
allowed by their masters to retain the price (no inconsid- 
erable one) for some that they had found time to manu- 
facture after their day's labor was accomplished. These 
were undoubtedly privileges ; but I confess it appears to 
me that the juster view of the matter would be this : if 
these men were industrious enough, out of their scanty- 
leisure, to earn these sums of money, which a mere exer- 
cise of arbitrary will on the part of the master allowed 
them to keep, how much more of remuneration, of com- 
fort, of improvement, physical and mental, might they not 
have achieved, had the due price of their daily labor mere- 
ly been paid to them? It seems to me that this is the 
mode of putting the case to Englishmen, and all who have 
not agreed to consider uncertain favor an equivalent for 
common justice in the dealings of man with man. As the 
slaves are well known to toil for years sometimes to amass 
the means of rescuing themselves from bondage, the fact 
of their being able and sometimes allowed to earn consid- 
erable sums of money is notorious. But now that I have 
answered one by one the instances you have produced, 
with others — ^I am sure as accurate, and I believe as com- 


mon — of an entirely opposite description, permit me to 
ask you what this sort of testimony amounts to. I allow 
you full credit for yours, allow me full credit for mine, 
and the result is very simply a nullification of the one by 
the other statement, and a proof that there is as much 
good as evil in the details of slavery ; but now, be pleased 
to throw into the scale this consideration, that the princi- 
ple of the whole is unmitigated abominable evil, as .by 
your own acknowledgment you hold it to be, and add, 
moreover, that the principle being invariably bad beyond 
the power of the best man acting under it to alter its ex- 
ecrable injustice, the goodness of the detail is a matter ab- 
solutely dependent iipon the will of each individual slave- 
holder, so that though the best can not make the system 
in the smallest particular better, the bad can make every 
practical detail of it as atrocious as the principle' itself; 
and then tell me upon what ground you palliate a mon- 
strous iniquity, which is the rule, because of the accident- 
al exceptions which go to prove it. Moreover, if, as you 
have asserted, good preponderates over evU. in the prac- 
tice, though not in the theory of slavery, or it would not 
maintain its existence, why do you uphold, to ug, with so 
much complacency, the hope that it is surely, if not rapid- 
ly approaching its abolishment ? Why is the preponder- 
ating good, which has, as you say, proved sufficient to up- 
hold the institution hitherto, to become (in spite of the 
spread of civilization and national progress, and the grad- 
ual improvement of the slaves themselves) inadequate to 
its perpetuation henceforward ? Or why, if good really 
has prevailed in it, do you rejoice that it is speedily to 
pass away? You say the emancipation of the slaves is 
inevitable, and that through progressive culture the negro 
of the Southern states daily approaches more nearly to 
the recovery of the rights of which he has been robbed. 
But .whence do you draw this happy augury, except from 


the hope, which all Christian souls must cherish, that God 
will not pei^mit, much longer so great a wickedness to 
darken the face of the earth ? Surely the increased strin- 
gency of the Southern slave-laws, the more than ever vig- 
ilant precautions against all attempts to enlighten or edu- 
cate the negroes, the severer restrictions on manumission, 
the thrusting forth out of certain states of all free persons 
of color, the atrocious Fugitive Slave Bill, one of the latest 
achievements of Congress, and the piratical attempt upon 
Cuba, avowedly, on the part of all Southerners, abetting 
or justifying it because it will add slave territory and 
600,000 slaves to their possessions — surely these do not 
seem indications of the better state of things you antici- 
pate, except, indeed, as the straining of the chain beyond 
all endurable tightness significantly suggests the proba- 
bility of its giving way. 

I do not believe the planters have any disposition to 
put an end to slavery, nor is it perhaps much to be won- 
dered at that they have not. To do so is, in the opinion 
of the majority of them, to run the risk of losing their 
property, perhaps their lives, for a benefit which they pro- 
fess to think doubtful to the slaves themselves. How far 
they are right in anticipating ruin from the manumission 
of their slaves I think questionable, but that they do so is 
certain, and self-impoverishment for the sake of abstract 
principle is not a thing to be reasonably expected from 
any large class of men. But, besides the natural fact that 
the slaveholders wish to retain their property, emancipar, 
tion is, in their view of it, not only a risk of enormous pe- 
cuniary loss, and of their entire social status, but involves 
elements of personal danger, and, above aU, disgust to in- 
veterate prejudices, which they will assuredly never en- 
counter. The question is not alone one of foregoing great 
wealth or the niere means of subsistence (in either case 
almost equally hard) ; it is not alone the unbinding the. 


hands of those who have many a bloody debt of hatred 
and revenge to settle ; it is not alone the consenting sud- 
denly to see by their side, upon a footing of free social 
equality, creatures toward whom their predominant feel- 
ing is one of mingled terror and abhorrence, and who, 
during the Whole of their national existence, have been, 
as the earth, trampled beneath their feet, yet ever threat- 
ening to gape and swallow them alive. It is not all this 
alone which makes it unlikely that the Southern planter 
should desire to free his slaves : freedom in America is not 
merely a personal right ; it involves a political privilege. 
Treemen there are legislators. The rulers of the land are 
the majority of the people, and in many parts of the South- 
ern states the black free citizens would become, if not at 
once, yet in procfess of time, inevitably voters, landholders, 
delegates tb state Legislatures, members of Assembly-^ 
who knows? — senators, judges, aspirants to the presiden- 
cy of the United States. You must be an American, or 
have lived long among them, to conceive the shout of de- 
risive execration with which such an idea would be hailed 
from one end 6f the land to the other. 

That the emanciipation of the negroes need not neces- 
satrily put them in possession of the franchise is of course 
obvious ; btit, as a general consequence, the one would fol- 
low from the other ; and at present certainly the slave- 
holders are no more ready to grant the political privilege 
than the natural right of freedom. Under these circum- 
stances, though the utmost commiseration is naturally ex- 
cited by the slaves, I agree with you that some forbear- 
ance is due to the masters. It -is difficult to conceive a 
more awful position than theirs : fettered by laws which 
impede every movement toward right and justice, and ut- 
terly without the desire to repeal them — dogged by the 
apprehension of nameless retributions — ^bound beneath a 
burden of responsibility for which, whether they acknowl- 



edge it or not, they are held accountable by God and men 
— goaded by the keen consciousness of the growing rep- 
robation of all civilized Christian communities, their exist- 
ence presents the miserable moral counterpart of the phys- 
ical condition of their slaves ; and it is one compared with 
which that of the wretchedest slave is, in my judgment, 
worthy of envy. 

Letter to C. G., JEsq. 

Befoee entering upon my answer to your questions, 
let me state that I have no claim to be ranked as an Abo- 
litionist in the American acceptation of the word, for I 
have hitherto held the emancipation of the slaves to be 
exclusively the business and duty of their owners, whose 
highest moral interest I thought it was to rid themselves 
of such a responsibility, ia spite of the manifold worldly 
interests almost inextricably bound up with it. 

This has been my feehng hitherto with regard to the 
views of the Abolitionists, which I now, however, heartily 
embrace, inasmuch as I think that from the moment the 
United States government assumed an attitude of coer- 
cion and supremacy toward the Southern states, it was 
bound, with its fleets and armies, to introduce its polity 
with respect to slavery, and wherever it planted the stand- 
ard of the Union, to proclaim the universal freedom which 
is the recognized law of the Northern United States. That 
they have not done so has been pai-tly owing to a super- 
stitious but honorable veneration for the letter of their 
great charter, the Constitution, and still more to the hope 
they have never ceased to entertain of bringing back the 
South to its allegiance under the former conditions of the ' 
Union, an event which will be rendered impossible by any 
attempt to interfere with the existence of slavery. 

The North, with the exception of an inconsiderable mi- 

LBITEB TO C. G., ESQ. 323 

nority of its inhabitants, has never been at all desirous of 
the emancipation of the slaves. The Democratic party, 
which has ruled the United States for many years past, 
has always been friendly to the slaveholders, who have, ' 
with few exceptions, been all members of it (for, by_ a 
strange perversion both of words and ideas, some of the 
most democratic states in the Union are Southern slave 
states, and in the part of Georgia where the slave popula- 
tion is denser thanjn any other part of the South, a county 
exists bearing the satirical title oilAberty County). And 
the support of the South has been given to the Northern 
Democratic politicians upon the distinct understanding 
that their "domestic institution" was to be guaranteed to 

The condition of the free blacks in the Northern states 
has of course been affected most unfavorably by the slav- 
ery of their race throughout the other half of the Union ; 
and, indeed, it would have been a difficult matter for 
Northern citizens to maintain toward the blacks an atti- 
tude of social and political equality as far as the borders 
of Delaware, while immediately beyond they were pledged 
to consider them as the " chattels" of their owners, ani- 
mals no more noble or human than the cattle in their 
masters' fields. 

How could peace have been maintained if the Southern, 
slaveholders had been compelled to endure the, sight of 
negroes rising to wealth and eminence in the Northern 
cities, or enteidng as fellow-members with themselves the 
halls of that Legislature to which all free-born citizens are 
eligible ? They would very certainly have declined with 
fierce scorn, not the fellowship of the blacks alpne, but 
of those white men who admitted the despised race of 
their serfs to a footing of such impartial equality. It 
therefore was the instinctive, and became the deliberate 
policy of the Northern people, once pledged to maintain 


slavery in the South, to make their task easy by degrad- 
ing the blacks in the Northern states to a condition con- 
trasting as little as possible with that of the Southern 
slaves. The Northern politicians struck hands with the 
Southern slaveholders, and the great majority of the most 
enlightened citizens of the Northern states, absorbed in 
the pursuit of wealth and the extension and consolidation 
of their admirable and wonderful national prosperity^,, 
abandoned the government of their noble country and the 
preservation of its nobler institutions to the slaveholding 
aristocracy of the South — to a mob of politicians by trade, 
the vilest and most venal class of men that ever disgraced 
and endangered a country — ^to foreign emigrants, whose 
brutish ignorance did not prevent the Democratic party 
from seizing upon them as voters, and bestowing on the 
Irish and German boors just landed on their shores the 
same political privileges as those possessed and intelli- 
gently exercised by the farmers and mechanics of New 
England, the most enlightened men of their class to be 
found in the world. 

The gradual encroachment of the Southern politicians 
upon the liberties of the North, by their unrelaxing influ- 
ence in Congress and over successive cabinets and presi- 
dents, was not without its effect in stimulating some re^ 
sistance on the part of Northern statesmen of sufficient 
intelligence to perceive the inevitable results toward 
which this preponderance in the national councils was 
Steadily tending ; and I need not remind you of the ra- 
pidity and force with which General Jackson quelled an 
incipient rebellion in South Carolina, when Mr. Calhoun 
made the tariff question the pretext for a threatened se- 
cession in 1832, of the life-long opposition to Southern 
pretensions by John Quinoy Adams, of the endeavor of 
Mr. Clay to stem the growing evil by the conditions of 
the Missouri Compromise, and all the occasional attempts 

LBTTBE TO C. G., ESQ. 325 

of individuals of more conscientious convictions than their 
fellow-citizens on the subject of the sin of slavery, from 
Dr. Channing's eloquent protest on the annexation of 
Texas, to Mr. Charles Sumner's philippic against Mr. 
Brooks, of South Carolina. 

The disorganization of the Democratic party, after a 
cohesion of so niany years, at length changed the aspect 
of affairs, and the North appeared to be about to arouse 
itself from its apathetic consent to Southern domination. 
The Republican party, headed by Colonel Fremont, who 
was known to be an anti-slavery man, nearly carried the 
presidential election six years ago, and then every prep- 
aration had been made in the South for the process of 
secession, which was only averted by the election of Mr. 
Buchanan, a pro-slavery Southern sympathizer, though 
born in Pennsylvania. Under his presidency, the South- 
ern statesmen, resuming their attitude of apparent friend- 
liness with the Iforth, kept in abeyance, maturiiig and 
perfecting by every treasonable practice, for which their 
preponderating share in the cabinet afforded them facil- 
ities, the plan of the violent disruption of the Union, upon 
which they had determined whenever the Republican 
party should have acquired sufficient strength to elect a 
president with Northern views. Before, however, this 
event occurred, the war in Kansas rang a prophetic peal 
of warning through the land ; and the struggle there be- 
gun between. New England emigrants bent on founding 
a free state, and Missouri border ruffians determined to 
make the new territory a slavehblding addition to the 
South, might have roused the whole North and West to 
the imminence of the peril by which the safety of the 
Union was threateiied. • 

But neither the struggle in Kansas, nor the strange and 
piteous episode which grew out of it, of John Brown's 
attempt to excite an insurrection in Virginia, and his exe- 


cution by the government of that state, did more than 
startle the North with a nine days' wonder out of its 
apathetic indifference. The Republican party, it is true, 
gained adherents, and acquired strength by degrees ; and 
Mr. Buchanan's term of office approaching its expiration, 
it became apparent that the Democratic party was about 
to lose its supremacy, and the slaveholders their domin- 
ion ; and no sooner was this evident than the latter threw 
off the mask, and renounced their allegiance to the Union. 
In a day — in an hour almost-^those stood face to face as 
mortal enemies who were citizens of the same country, 
subjects of the same government, children of the same 
soil; and the North, incredulous and amazed, found it- 
self suddenly summoned to retrieve its lost power and 
influence, and assert the dignity of the insulted TJhion 
against the rebellious atteinpt of the South to overthrow 

But it was late for them to take that task in hand. 
For years the conduct of the government of the United 
States had been becoming a more desperate and degraded 
jobbery^ one from which day by day the Northern gentle- 
men of intelligence, influence, and education withdrew 
themselves in greater disgust, devoting their energies to 
schemes of mere personal advantage, and leaving the 
commonweal with selfish and contemptuous indifference 
to the guidance of any hands less nice and less busy than 
their own. 

Nor would the Southern planters — a prouder and more 
aristocratic race than the Northern merchants — ^h'ave rel- 
ished the companionship of their fellow-politicians more 
than the latter, but their personal interests were at stake, 
and immediately concerned in their maintaining their pre- 
dominant influence over the government; and while the 
Boston men wrote and talked transcendentalism, and be- 
came the most accomplished of mstetische cotton-spinners 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 327 

and railroad speculators, and made the shoes and cow- 
hides of the Southerners, the latter made their laws (I be- 
lieve New Jersey is really the great cowhide factory) ; 
and the New York men, owners of the fastest ^horses and 
finest houses in the land, having made a sort of Brum- 
magem Paris of their city, were the bankers and brokers 
of the Southerners, while the latter were the legislators. 

The grip the slaveholders had fastened on the helm of 
the state had been tightening for nearly half a century, 
till the government of the nation had become literally 
theirs, and the idea of their relinquishing it was one 
which the North did not contemplate, and they would 
not tolerate. 

If I have said nothing of the grievances which the South 
has alleged against the North — its tariff, made chiefly in 
the interest of the Northeastern manufacturing states, 
or its inconsiderable but "enthusiastic Massachusetts and 
Pennsylvania Abolition party,' it is because I do not be- 
lieve these causes of complaint would have had the same 
effect upon any but a community of slaveholders, men 
made impatient (by the life-long habit of despotism) not 
only of all control, but of any opposition. Thirty years 
ago Andrew Jackson— a man of keen sagacity as well as 
determined energy — wrote of them that they were bent 
upon destroying the Union, and that, whatever was the 
pretext of their discontent, that was their aim and pur- 
pose. " To-day," he wrote, " it is the tariff, by-and-by it 
will be slavery." The event has proved how true a 
prophet he was. My own conviction is that the national 
character produced and fostered by slaveholding is incom- 
patible with free institutions, and that the Southern aris- 
tocracy, thanks to the pernicious influences by which 
they are surrounded, are unfit to be members of a Chris- 
tian republic. It is slavery that has made the Southern- 
ers rebels to their government, traitors to their country. 

328 ' APPENDIX. 

and the originators of the Woodiest civil war that ever 
disgraced humanity and civilization. It is for their sinful slavery, and their shameful abandonment of 
all their duties as citizens, that the Northerners are pay- 
ing in the blood of their men, the tears of their women, 
and the treasure which they have till now held more pre- 
cious than their birthright. They must now not merely 
impose a wise restrictioii upon slavery, they must be pre- 
pared to extinguish it. ijhey neglected and despised the 
task of moderating its conditions and checking its growth ; 
they must now suddenly, in\ the midst of unparalleled dif- 
ficulties and dangers, be ready to deal summarily with its 
entire existence. They have l^oved the pursuit of personal 
prosperity and pleasure morfe than their country ; and 
now they must spend life anduiving to reconquer their 
great inheritance, and win back[at the sword's point what 
Heaven had forbidden them to lose. Nor are we, here in 
England, without part in this tremendous sin and sorrow ; 
we have persisted in feeding our looms, and the huge 
wealth they coin, with the produce of slavery. In vain 
our vast Indian territory has solicited the advantage of 
becoming our free cotton plantation ; neither our manu- 
facturers nor our government would venture, would wait, 
would spend or lose, for that purpose; the slave-grown 
harvest was ready, was abundant, was cheap — and now 
the thousand arms of our great national industry are 
folded in deplorable inactivity ; the countless hands that 
wrought from morn till night the wealth that was a 
world's wonder are stretched unwillingly to beg their 
bread ; and England has never seen a sadder sight than 
the enforced idleness of her poor operatives, or a nobler 
one than their patient and heroic endurance. 

And now you ask me what plan, what scheme, what 
project the government of the United States has formed 
for the safe and successful emancipation of four millions 

LETTEE TO C. G,, ESQ. 329 

of slaves, in the midst of a country distracted with all the 
horrors of war, and the male population of which is en- 
gaged in military service at a distance from their homes ? 
Most assuredly none. Precipitated headlong from a state 
of apparent profound security and prosperity into a series 
of calamitous events which have brought the country to 
the verge of ruin, neither the nation or its governors have 
had leisure to prepare themselves for any of the disastrous 
circumstances they have had to encounter, least of all for 
the momentous change which the President's proclama- 
tion announces as imminent : a measure of supreme im- 
portance, not deliberately adopted as the result of philan- 
thropic conviction or far-sighted policy, but (if not a mere 
feint of party politics) the last effort of the incensed spirit 
of endurance in the North — a punishment threatened 
against rebels, whom they can not otherwise subdue, and 
which a year ago half the Northern population would 
have condemned upon principle, and more than half re- 
volted from on instinct. 

The country being in a state of war necessarily compli- 
cates every thing, and renders the most plausible sugges- 
'tions for the settlement of the question of emancipation 
futile, because from first to last now it will be one tre- 
mendous chapter of accidents, instead of a carefully con- 
sidered and wisely prepared measure of government. 
But, supposing the war to have ceased, either by the suc- 
cess of the Northern arms or by the consent of both bel- 
ligerents, the question of manumission in the Southern 
states when reduced to the condition of territories or re- 
stored to the sway of their own elected governors and 
Legislatures, though difiScult, is by no means one of insup- 
erable difficulty ; and I do not believe that a great nation 
of Englishmen, having once the will to rid itself of a dan- 
ger a,nd a disgrace, will fail to find a way. The thing, 
therefore, most to be desired now is, that Americans may 


unanimously emlDrace the purpose of emancipation, and, 
though they have been reluctantly driven by the irresist^ 
ible force, of circumstances to contemplate the measure, 
may henceforward never avert their eyes from it till it is 

When I was in the South many years ago I conversed 
frequently with two highly intelligent men, both of whom 
agreed in saying that the immense value of the slaves as 
property was the only real obstacle to their manumission, 
and that whenever the Southerners became convinced that 
it was their interest to free them they would veiy soon find 
the means to do it. In some respects the conditions are 
more favorable than those we had to encounter in freeing 
our West India slaves. Though the soil and climate of 
the Southern states are fertile and favorable, they are not 
tropical, and there is no profuse natural growth of fruits 
or vegetables to render subsistence possible without labor; 
the winter temperature is like that of the Roman States ; 
and even as far south as Georgia and the bordei's of Flor- 
ida, frosts severe enough to kill the orange-trees are some- 
times experienced. The inhabitants of the Southern 
states, throughout by far the largest portion of their ex- 
tent, must labor to live, and will undoubtedly obey the be- 
neficent law of necessity whenever they are made to feel 
that their existence depends upon their own exertions. 
The plan of a gradual emancipation, preceded by a limited 
apprenticeship of the negroes to white masters, is of 
course often suggested as less dangerous than their entire 
and immediate enfranchisement. But when years ago I 
lived on a Southern plantation, and had opportunities of 
observing the miserable results of the , system on every 
thing connected with it — the souls, minds, bodies, and es- 
tates of both races of men, and the very soil on which they 
existed together — ^I came to the conclusion that immedi- 
ate and entire emancipation was not only an act of imper- 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 331 

ative right, but would be the safest and most profitable 
course for the interests of both parties. The gradual 
and inevitable process of ruin which exhibits itself in the 
long run on every property involving slavery, naturally 
suggests some element of decay inherent in the system ; 
the reckless habits of extravagance and prodigality in, the 
masters, the ruinous wastefulness and ignorant incapacity 
of the slaves, the deterioration of the land under the ex- 
hausting and thriftltess cultivation to which it is subjected, 
made it evident to me that there were but two means of 
maintaining a prosperous ownership in Southern planta- 
tions: either the possession of considerable capital where- 
with to recruit the gradual waste of the energies of the 
soil, and supply by all the improved and costly methods 
of modern agriculture the means of profitable cultivation 
(a process demanding, as English farmers know, an enor- 
mous and incessant outlay of both money and skill), or an 
unlimited command of fresh soil, to which the slaves might 
be transferred as soon as that already under culture ex- 
hibited signs of exhaustion. Now the Southerners are 
for^tbe most part men whose only wealth is in their land 
and laborers — a large force of slaves is isheiy most profit- 
able investment. The great capitalists and moneyed men 
of the country are Iforthern men ; the planters are men 
of large estates but restricted means : iaany of them are 
deeply involved in debt, and there are very few who do 
not depend from- year to year for their subsistence on the 
harvest of their fields and the chances of the cotton and 
rice . crops of each season. ^ 

This makes it of vital importance to them to command 
an unrestricted extent of territory. The man who can 
move a " gang" of able-bodied negroes to a tract of vir- 
gin soil is sure of an immense return of wealth; as sure 
as that he who is circumscribed in this respect, and limit- 
ed to the cultivation of certain lands with cotton or to- 


bacco by slaves, will in the course of a few years see his 
estate gradually exhausted and unproductive, refusing its 
increase, while its black population, propagating and mul- 
tiplying, will compel him eventually, under penalty of 
Starvation, to make tTrnn his crop, and substitute, as the 
Virginians have been constrained to do, a traffic in human 
cattle for the cultivation of vegetable harvests. 

The steady decrease of the value of the cotton-crop, 
even on the famous sea-island plantations of Georgia, often 
suggested to me the inevitable ruin of the owners within 
a certain calculable space of time, as the land became worn 
out, and the negroes continued to increase in number; 
and had the estate on which I lived been mine, and the 
laws of Georgia not made such an experiment impossible, 
I would have emancipated the slaves on it immediately, 
and turned them into a free tenantry, as the first means 
of saving my property from impending destruction. I 
would have paid them wages, and they should have paid 
me rent. I would have relinquished the charge of feed- 
ing and clothing them, and the burden of their old, young, 
and infirm ; in short, I would have put them at once upon 
the footing of free hired laborers. Of course such a pro- 
cess would have involved temporary loss, and for a year 
or two the income of the estate would, I dare say, have 
suffered considerably ; but, in all such diversions of labor 
or capital from old into new channels and modes of oper- 
ation, there must be an immediate sacrifice of present to 
future profit, and I do not doubt that the estate would 
have recovered from the momentary necessary interrup- 
tion of its productiveness, to resume it with an upward 
instead of a downward tendency, and a vigorous impulse 
toward progress and improvement substituted for the 
present slow but sure drifting to stagnation and decay. 
» As I have told you, the land affords no spontaneous 
produce which will sustain life without labor. The ne- 

LBTTEB TO C. G., ESQ. 333 

groes, therefore, must work to eat ; they are used to the 
soil and climate, and accustomed to the agriculture, and 
there is no reason at all to apprehend — as has been sug- 
gested-^that a race of people singularly attached, to the 
place of their birth and residence would abandon in any 
large numbers their own country, just as the conditions 
of their existence in it were made more favorable, to try 
the .unknown and (to absolute ignorance) forbidding risks 
of emigration to the sterner climate and harder soil of the 
Northern states. 

Of course, in freeing the slaves, it would be necessary 
to contemplate the possibility of their becoming eventual 
proprietors of the soil to some extent themselves. There 
is as little doubt that many of them would soon acquire 
the means of doing so (men who amass, during hours of 
daily extra Jabor, through years of unpaid toil, the means 
of buying themselves from their masters, would soon jus- 
tify their freedom by the intelligent improvement of their 
condition), as that many of the present landholders would 
be ready and glad to alienate their impoverished estates 
by parcels, and sell the land which has become compara- 
tively unprofitable to them, to its enfranchised cultivators. 
This, the- future ownership of land by negroes, as well as 
their admission to those rights of citizenshig^hich every 
where in America such ownership involves, would neces- 
sarily be future subjects of legislation ; and either or both 
privileges might be withheld temporarily, indefinitely, or 
permanently, as might seem expedient, and the progress 
in civilization which might justify such an extension of 
rights. These, arid any other- modifications of the state 
of the black; population in the South, would require great 
wisdom to deal with, but their immediate transformation 
from bondsmen to free might, I think, be accomplished 
with little danger or diflGiculty, and with certain increase 
of prosperity to the Southern states. 


On the other hand, it is not impossible that, left to the 
unimpeded action of the natural laws that govern the ex- 
istence of various races, the black population, no longer 
directly preserved and propagated for the purposes of 
slavery, might gradually decrease and dwindle, as it does 
at the North, where, besides the unfavorable influence of 
a cold climate on a race originally African, it sufiers from 
its admixture with the whites, and the amalgamation of 
the two races, as far as it goes, tends evidently to the 
destruction of the weaker. The Northern mulattoes are 
an unhealthy, feeble population, and it might yet appear 
that even under the more favorable influence of a South- 
ern climate, whenever the direct stimulus afforded by 
slavery to the increase of the negroes was removed,' their 
gradual extinction or absorption by the predominant 
white race would foUow in the course of time. 

But the daily course of events appears to be rendering 
more and more unlikely the inimediate effectual enfran- 
chisement of the slaves: the President's proclamation wiU 
reach with but little efficacy beyond the mere borders of 
the Southern states. The war is assuming an aspect of 
indefinite duration; and it is difficult to conceive what 
will be the condition of the blacks^ freed de jur e hut hj no 
means de /o ^a . in the vast interior regions of the South- 
ern states, aiSSng as the struggle raging all round their 
confines does not penetrate within them. Each of the 
combatants is far too busily absorbed in the furious strife 
to afford thought, leisure, or means either effectually to 
free the slaves or effectually to replace them in bondage ; 
and, in the mean time, their condition is the worst possi- 
ble for the future success of either operation. If the 
North succeeds in subjugating the South, its earliest busi- 
ness will be to make the freedoin of the slaves real as well 
as nominal, and as little injurious to themselves as possi- 
ble. If, on the other hand, the South makes good its pre- 

LETTEB TO C. G., ESQ. 335 

tensions to a separate national existence, no sooner will 
the disseverment of the Union be an established fact than 
the slaveholders will have to consolidate once more the 
systeni of their " peculiar institution," to reconstruct the 
prison which has half crumbled to the ground, and rivet 
afresh the chains which have been all but struck off. 
This will be difficult : the determination of the North to 
restrict the area of slavery by forbidding its ingress into 
future territories and states has been considered by the 
slaveholders a wrong, and a danger justifying a bloody 
civil war; inasmuch as, if under those circumstances 
they did not abolish slavery themselves in a given num- 
ber of years, it would infallibly abolish them by the in-* 
crease of the negro population, hemmed with them into 
a restricted space by this cordon sanitaire drawn round 
them. But, bad as this prospect has seemed to slave- 
holders (determined to continue such), and justifying — - 
as it may be conceded that it does from their point of 
view — not a ferocious civil war, but a peaceable separa- 
tion from states whose interests were declared absolute- 
ly irreconcilable with theirs, the position in which they 
will find themselves if the contest terminates in favor of 
secession wiU be undoubtedly more difficult and terrible 
than the one the mere anticipation of wl^ji has driven 
them to the dire resort of civil war. All r J||^ the South- 
ern coast, and all along the course of the great Mississippi, 
and all across the northern frontier of the slave states, the 
negroes have already thrown off the trammels of slavery. 
Whatever their condition maybe — and doubtless, in many 
respects, it is miserable enough — they are to all intents 
and purposes free. Vast numbers of them have joined the 
Northern invading armies, and considerable bodies of 
them have become organized as soldiers and laborers, un- 
der the supervision of Northern officers and employers ; 
most of them have learned the use of arms, and possess 


them ; all of them have exchanged the insufficient slave 
diet of grits and rice for the abundant supplies of animal 
food, which the poorest laborer in that favored land of 
cheap provisions and high vt^ages indulges in to an extent 
unknown in any other country. None of these slaves of 
yesterday will be the same slaves to-morrow. Little es- 
sential difference as may yet have been effected by the 
President's proclamation in the interior of the South in 
the condition of the blacks, it is undoubtedly known to 
them, and they are waiting in ordinous suspense its ac- 
complishtaent or defeat by the fortune of the war; they 
are watching the issue of the contest of which they well 
tnow themselves to be the theme, and at its conclusion, 
end how it will, they must be emancipated or extermina- 
ted. With the North not only not friendly to slavery, 
but henceforward bitterly hostUe to slaveholders, and no 
more to be reckoned upon as heretofore, it might have 
been infallibly by the Southern white population in any 
difficulty with the blacks (a fact of which the negroes will 
be as well aware as their former masters) — with an invis- 
ible boundary stretching from ocean to ocean, over which 
they may fly without fear of a master's claim following 
them a single inch — with the hope and expectation of lib- 
erty sudden^teiatched from them at the moment it seem- 
ed within trnKf grasp—with the door of their dungeon 
once more barred between them and the light into which 
they were in the act of emerging, is it to be conceived 
that these four millions of people, many thousands of 
whom are already free and armed, will submit without a 
struggle to be again thrust down into the hell of slavery ? 
Hitherto there has been no insurrection among the ne- 
groes, and observers friendly and inimical to them have 
alike drawn from that fact conclusions unfavorable to their 
appreciation of the freedom apparently within their grasp; 
but they are waiting to see what the North will reaUy 


achieve for them. The liberty offered them is hitherto 
anomalous, and uncertain enough in its conditions ; they 
probably trust it as Uttle as they know it ; but slavery 
they do know ; and when once they find themselves again 
delivered over to that experience, there will not be one 
insurrection in the South — there will be an insurrection in 
every state, in every county, on every plantation — a strug- 
gle as fierce as it will be futile — a hopeless effort of hope- 
less men, which wUl baptize in blood the new American 
nation, and inaugurate its birth among the civilized soci- 
eties of the earth, not by the manumission, but the massa- 
cre of every slave within its borders. 

Perhaps, however, Mr. Jefferson Davis means to free 
the negroes. Whenever that consummation is attained, 
the root of bitterness will have perished from the land; 
and when a few years shall have passed, blunting the ha- 
tred which has been excited by this fratricidal strife, the 
Americans of both the Northern and Southern states will 
perceive that the selfish policy of other nations would not 
have so rejoiced over their division, had it not seemed, to 
those who loved them not, the proof of past failure and 
the prophecy of future weakness. 

Admonished by its terrible experiences, I believe the 
nation will reunite itself under one government, remodel 
its Constitution, and again address itselHlfulfill its glo- 
rious destiny. I believe that the country sprung from 
• ours — of all our just subjects of national pride the great- 
est — will resume its career of prosperity and powei', and 
become the noblest as well as the mightiest that has ex- 
isted among the nations of the earth. 





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The first attempt at a complete history of the tTnited States. The reader who 
desires to inform himself in all the particulars, military or political, of tho 
American Revolution, will find that they have been Bcrupulously collected for 
him by Mr. Hildreth. — LoTtdon Athenceu/m. 

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volumes London Literary Gazette. 

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randor to say that it seems to us valuable and very fair. Mr. Hildreth has con- 
fined himself to, as far as possible, a dispassionate collection of facts fi-om the 
documents he has consulted and copied, and his work fills avoid that has sensi- 
bly been felt in private libraries. As a documentary history of the United 
States, we are free to commend it.— if. y. Freenum'a Journal. 

Mr. Hildreth has rendered an essential and permanent eeryice.— Providence 
Daily JourmxL 

The volumes will be regarded as indispensable— it will take its place as a 
Ctereh iT" »"'!«>' s style is dignified, perspicuous, and vivacious.- 

The work is very complete. The marginal dates, the two Indexes, and run- 
ning heads at the tops of the pages, render it veiy convenient for reference, 
points which scholars will find all important for utiltty.— .»e»(B-j; SentinA'of 


We should like to know what other hook upon American hiBtory, or even npon 
any limited portion of it, presents any thing like the Bame distinctness of view, 
or can at all compete with it in that ** lucid order^' which is one of the first mer- 
its of every historical work. — Boston Atlas. 

His work fills a want, and iB therefore most welcome. Its positive merits, in 
addition to those we have before mentioned, are .impartiality, steadiness of 
view, cle^tr appreciation- of character, and, in point of style, a terseaesB and con- 
ciseness not' unlike Tacitus, with not a little, too, of Tacitean vigor of thought, 
stern sense of justice, sharp irony, and profound wisdom, — Methodist Qttarterly 

It occupies a space which has not yet been filled, and exhibits characteristics 
both of design and of composition, which entitle it to a distinguished place 
among the most important productions of American genius and scholarship. 
We welcome it as a eimple, faithful, lucid, and elegant narrative of the great 
events of American history. It is not written in illustration of any favorite 
theory,' it is not the expression of any ides'! system, but an honest endeavor to 
present the facts in question in the pure, uncolored light of truth and reality. 
The impartiality, good judgment, penetration, and diligent research of the au- 
thor are conspicuous in its oomposition.— ^. Y. Tribune. 

In our judgment, this is the ablest, best, and most judiclouB popular history 
of the United States that has yet appeared. It will be a standard book on 
American history, and wHl not fail to secure a high reputation as a writer to its 
modest and unpretending author. — Washington Unions 

This work is a valuable addition to our historical literature. It is the frnit 
of wide research and hard labor. It has those features of severe simplicity and 
truthfulness which will render it an enduring legacy to the future. — Christian 

Mr. Hildreth's work will be a standard of reference for the student of Ameri- 
can htetory, and will become a favorite in proportion as it is known,»-iVa^ £Ira. 
His narrative is Ingid and succinct, his facts carefully ascertained and skill- 
fully grouped, and his conclusions on all mooted questions are ably sustained 
and impartially weighed. — New Orleans Bee. 

The most valuable work of the kind yet issued. It presents, in a clear, grace- 
ful, and forcible style, a full and faithful picture of the country ftom its first 
settlement down to the end of the Sixteenth Congress. It is marked no less by 
its completeness than its accuracy and the beauty of its narrative. — SVoy Daili/ 

In a most graphic, teree, and elegant style, it gives the history of each state, 
with its institutions, progress, and enterprise, civil, commercial, and agricul- 
tural, which makes the book a valuable addendum to the historical literature of 
the great republic. — St John^s Morning News. 

No better chronicle of the more recent periods of oar history has been given, — 
Albany Evening Joimial. 

The prevailing characteristic of Hildreth's history is its stem and inflexible 
impjpitialif^. — Boston Jov/mal. 

The author has shown a moat commendable industry. — BalUmwre Patriot. 

The chief merits of Mr. Hildreth's work are fidelity and candor of spirit, and 
perapiculty and tersenesa of style. — Southern Literary Gazette. 

It is a plain, dignified, impartial, and fearless exhibition of facts. — Genesee 

The author's grouping of men and events is skillful, and renders his rapid nar- 
rative pleasant reading. — N. Y. Hvening Post. 

These handsome volumes should be on the table of every American who de- 
sires the most thorough and clear report of our nation's history yet published. — 
Rochester Democrat. 

The history is a reliable, and, in all respects, an admirable one. — Ontario Be- 

The author makes every thing plain and clear which he touches. — Scnithem 
Christian Advocate. 

A history of the United States that could be regarded by all men as a standard 
of axiihorify, as well as a model of impartial labor,^ — Worcester Palladium. 

A work which should be in every American's hands. — Springfield.Republican. 
■ His style is clear and forcible, and his work is very valuable on account of the 
political information it contains. — Savannah Be-publican, 


Written witli candor, brevity, fidelity to facts, and simplicity of style and man- 
ner, and forms a welcome addition to the library of the nation.— iVo^ Ckurchjnan^ 

Mr. Hildreth is a bold and copious writer. His work is valuable for the im- 
mense amount of material it embodies. — 2)e Bow's Review of the Soutk&n and 
Western SUUea. 

"We may safely commend Jlr. Hildreth' s work as written in an excellent style 
and containing a vast amount of valuable information.— A Ibanj/ Argus. * 

His style is vigorouBly simple. It has the virtue of perspicuity. 2ion'8 


We value it on account of its impartiality. We have found nothing to indi- 
cate the least desire on the part of the author to exalt or debase any man or any 
party. His very patriotism, though high-principled and sincere, is sober and 
discriminate, and appears to be held in strong check by the controlling recollec- 
tion that he is writing for posterity, and that if the facts which he publishes 
will not honor his country and his countrymen, fulsome adulation will not add 
to their glory. — N. Y, Comm^cial Advertiser. 

We are confident that when the merits of this history come to be known and 
appreciated, it will be extensively regarded as decidedly superior to any thing 
that before existed on American history, and as a valuable contribution to 
America,n authorship. These stately volumes will be an ornament to any libra- 
ry, and no intelligent American can afford to be without the woi-k. We'have 
nobly patronized the great English history of the age, let us not fail to appre- 
ciate and patronize an American history so respectable and valuable as this cer- 
tainly is. — Biblical JR^ository iBibliotheoa Sacra). 

This work professes only to deal in facts; it is a book of recdrds; it puts to- 
gether clearly, consecutively, and, we believe, with strict impartiality, the events 
of American history. The work indicates patient, honest, and careful research, 
systematic fu^rangement, and lucid exposition. — Sonie.Jour7ial. 

To exhibit the progress of the country from infancy to maturity; to show 
the actual state of the people, the real character of their laws and institutions, 
and the true designs of their leading men, at different periods, and to relate a 
sound, unvarnished tale of our early history, has been his design ; and we are 
free to acknowledge that it has been executed with marked ability and triumph- 
ant success. Every lover of impartial history will accord to Mi-. Hildreth his 
due meed of praise for the able and honest manner in which he has given the 
true history of the United Si&te6.^Penn8ylvanian. 

This work is full of detail, bears marks of care and research, and is written 
under the guidance of clear sight and good judgment rather than of theory, 
philosophical or historical, or of prejudice of any sort whatever. We trust that 
It will be widely read.— Jl/". Y. Courier and Mnqvdrer. 

We pronounce it unsurpassed as a full, clear, and truthful history of our 
country so far. We rejoice that a work so important to our nation has been so 
ably performed. — hit&raryA'merixxin. 

Interesting, valuable, and very attractive. . It is written in a s^le eminently 
clear and attractive, and presents the remarkable history which it records in a 
form of great simplicity and with graphic force. " There is in it no attempt to 
palliate what is wrong, or to conceal what is true. It is a life-like and reliable 
history of the most remarkable series of events in the annals of the world. — B. 
Y. Journal of Commerce. 

It is a valuable acquisition to American literature. — BaUimore American. 

The history of our country with a scrupulous regard to truth. — Buffalo C<^ri^. 

We believe this to be a'truthful, judicious, and valuable histoiy, worthy of 
general acceptation. — Philadelphia North American. 

The first complete history of our country. — Chronotype. 

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